SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers adding sandpaper

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:18 AM ET

It appeared as though Zack Stortini might be on his way out when the Edmonton Oilers made a pitch to bring back enforcer Georges Laraque.

However, according to Kevin Prendergast, that was never the case.

"No, Zack was always part of the plan," said the Oilers vice-president of hockey operations. "We know exactly what he can do.

"We just felt that Georges would fill a hole left by Curtis Glencross leaving. It was never to replace Zack."

Yesterday, the Oilers announced they had come to an agreement on a three-year contract extension with Stortini. They also signed minor league forward Carl Corazzini to a one-year deal.

Last season, Stortini, a native of Elliot Lake, Ont., played his way onto the roster and finished with three goals and nine assists to go along with 201 penalty minutes in 66 games.

He played the enforcer's role with the Oilers, but also developed into a solid fourth-line player. Terms of the Stortini deal were not released, nor was he available for comment.

"He's got one of the toughest jobs on the team," Prendergast said.

"He knows it really well, performs it really well. He's well-liked in the dressing room and gives everything he's got every night."

Stortini, 22, was selected by the Oilers in the third round (94th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

The team has been patient in trying to develop him into a solid bit player that can fill the enforcer's role left vacant by the departure of Laraque two seasons ago.

"He's got strong character," said Prendergast. "He's got one of the toughest jobs in hockey and he knows it, but still shows up every night. He knows when to do it, when not to do it.

"Those guys are hard to find," he added.

"He's not afraid of anybody and there's not many guys that want to do that job."

Corazzini, 29, meanwhile, has played 19 NHL games in an eight-year professional career.

Last season, the five-foot-10, 182-pound native of Framingham, Mass., scored 24 goals and added 36 assists in 80 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League.

"He's not very big, but he can fly and he can score," said Prendergast. "He gives us more depth and should make us a better team in Springfield. And if we run into injury problems, he certainly wouldn't be a guy that we would be afraid to call up."


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