Stoll reflects on off year

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI

, Last Updated: 7:28 AM ET

Bad year. There's no other way to describe it.

Three even strength goals and a plus-minus that ranks in the bottom 10 of the entire NHL. This wasn't the kind of season Jarret Stoll was expecting as a springboard into restricted free agency this summer.

Neither were the Oilers.

So it'll be interesting to see how things progress when he and the club sit down to discuss a new deal this summer. Stoll, who made $2.2 million this year, doesn't have much leverage.

"There hasn't been too much discussion or talk, pretty much the whole year," said Stoll. "We just have to wait and see, I guess, how things turn out. Reality is reality."

Considered expendable by some, someone who could be included in a package for high end help, Stoll wants to make it clear where his heart is.

"I hope things work out because I don't want to leave here. I love playing here. I've enjoyed every second of it. Even through the tough times of this year, it's still fun coming to the rink, being around the guys, playing for fans like Edmonton fans."

Stoll's game picked up down the stretch, and might have hit its peak when he came back from getting 17 stitches in the ear to score the game winning goal in Vancouver, but he knows he didn't do enough this winter.

"I felt Ihad a better second half for sure, but I still wasn't as consistent as I wanted to be," he said. "There were good stretches, but not any prolonged stretches that could have salvaged my season.

"It was disappointing. It was a struggle. I've never struggled like this before and it was tough to go through and try to overcome. I did my best, tried to do other little things to help the team."

Head coach Craig MacTavish, who made Stoll a healthy scratch Dec. 7 in St. Louis, hasn't given up on the 25-year-old, who has a higher upside than anything they could get for him right now.

"He's a good player and I think he overcame a lot coming off the (concussion-shortened) season and the doubt that he had," said MacTavish. "I liked his competitiveness the last two or three weeks of the season.

"Players sometimes have off years. They have off years for a reason and I kind of recognize those reasons with Stollie. I've said all along that he's a really good player.

"Sometimes you have to be patient, even with veterans who have off years."

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