Overpopulated Oilers move Stortini

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:44 PM ET

Getting into a fight at the end of a shift may have eventually done in Zack Stortini.

On Tuesday, the Edmonton Oilers winger was put on waivers by the club, who are set to welcome Ales Hemsky and Jordan Eberle into the lineup.

If Stortini clears, hell be sent to the Oilers AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

We have too many players for too few spots, said Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini. Its competitive, and thats what weve been trying to re-establish within the organization, is competition for jobs.

The players that have been bought up have contributed, and we need to look at some people in different ways, different types of lineups that Tom (Renney) wants to see. Its a hard part of the game, but thats 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 in the third round 94th overall of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

In the teams final game before the All-star break, Stortini was drawn into a fight with Dallas Stars winger Krystofer Barch. Unfortunately for Stortini, the bout came at the end of his shift, and all the six-foot-four, 215-pound winger had the energy for was to hold on and try to protect himself from the barrage of punches Barch was throwing.

Following the bout, Barch mocked Stortini for turtling.

I know Zack pretty well and hes everything that a coach wants in terms of character and coachability, said Renney. Hes a great teammate, hes tough, hes got terrific hockey sense.

There are aspects of his game, that Im 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.

With Hemsky and possibly Eberle set to return to the lineup Wednesday against the Los Angeles Kings, 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.

Both Reddox and Omark have played well since being called up from the farm club.

Its obviously nice to be recognized for the way weve been playing and not being that easy guy to send down, Reddox said. But nothing changes for me. For me, the mindset is coming to the rink every day and continue to work hard.

Its disappointing that Zack has to go on waivers. He brings a lot of emotion and pride to his game. Hopefully, he gets picked up by someone.

Stortini broke into the NHL during the 2006-2007 season.

His work ethic and willingness to become a better player endeared him to then head coach Craig MacTavish.

Stortini worked on developing into an effective agitator, being able to stand up for his teammates, along with playing quality minutes on the fourth line.

He played three full years with the club, collecting 14 goals and 27 assists in 256 games.

This season, however, Stortini struggled to get into the lineup on a nightly basis and was averaging just over seven minutes of ice time per game.

If Stortini ends up heading to Oklahoma City, hell have to clear waivers again in order to come back up to play with the Oilers. In that instance, hell be available to other teams at half his salary.

Zack gives you whatever he has on any given night and works hard, said Tambellini. Its just the fact that this team is evolving as we speak. Were trying to accomplish a lot of things at one time here. Right now, we just dont have the roster spot.

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/DerekVanDiest


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