EDMONTON - The Edmonton Oilers have put winger Zack Stortini on waivers.
With Ales Hemsky and Jordan Eberle set to return to the lineup, the Oilers needed to make room on the roster and decided against sending either Liam Reddox or Linus Omark back to their AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City.
“We have too many players for too few spots,” said Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini. “It’s competitive inside, and that’s what we’ve been trying to re-establish within the organization - competition for jobs.
“The players that have been brought up have contributed and we need to look at some people in different ways, different types of lineups that Tom (Renney) wants to see. It’s a hard part of the game, but that’s the reality of it. There are only so many spots.”
Stortini, 25, had four assists and 76 penalty minutes in 32 games with the Oilers this season.
The Elliot Lake, Ont., native was originally selected by the club in the third round - 94th overall – of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
“When you see where you’re going as an organization, you’re not sure when your young guys are going to nail it,” said Renney.
“Under these circumstances, our young guys have done well. They’ve earned themselves further opportunity and now we have some unhealthy guys getting healthy and they need to get back in the lineup. So it falls into the category of a numbers thing and we needed to make a move.”
Stortini broke into the NHL during the 2006-2007 season.
He played three full years with the club, collecting 14 goals and 27 assists in 256 games.
This season, Stortini struggled getting into the lineup on a regular basis averaging just over seven minutes of ice time per night.
“I know Zack pretty well and he’s everything that a coach wants in terms of character and coachability,” said Renney. “He’s a great teammate, he’s tough, he’s got terrific hockey sense.
“There are aspects of his game, that I’m not going to go into, that pose a bit of difficulty for him. But the fact of the matter is that other people have put themselves into a position to get a real opportunity here.”
Stortini is free to be picked up by any other team in the league. He has 24 hours to clear waivers after which, he will be sent down to Oklahoma City.
He’ll have to clear waivers again in order to come back up to play with the Oilers. In that instance, he’ll be available to other teams at half his salary.
“Zack gives you whatever he has on any given night and works hard,” said Tambellini. “It’s just the fact that this team is evolving as we speak, into something where, short term and long term, we’re trying to accomplish a lot of things at one time here.
“Right now we just don’t have the roster spot.”