Zack Stortini


I attended that game. I remember watching as Stortini came in on Krajicek, and thinking that Krajicek needed to get his head up, and then it was too late, as Stortini absolutely detroyed him. Big cheer from the crowd for his first NHL goal, too. Of course, the Oilers also lost the game, so it wasn't all good.

The three-year, 2.1-million dollar contract is a nice fit for a 4th line player, a contract with very little downside that could turn out very nice, especially if Stortini turns into a player capable of playing third line minutes. Even if Stortini can just keep doing what he did this past season, it will be a good contract.

A few posts below, I suggested that the following would be a reasonable expectation for Huggy Bear:

Some growth in fighting ability. Aside from Celine Dion Phaneuf, Stortini doesn't really intimidate, and the occasional decision in his favour might help that out. Aside from that, if Stortini can remain low-event against slightly better opponents, it will have been a successful season for him.

This remains true. I'm not really sure how sustainable Stortini's performance of last season was (a point made over at Lowetide's site) . While his goals differential and GAON/60 were both really nice, his Corsi number was among the worst on the team, indicating far more shots against than for. While I'm not a big believer in Corsi numbers (thanks in large part to the comments summarized here questioning the value of using shot count as an indicator of game success), it is something that is a little worrying.

Another worrying thing is Stortini's ability (or lack thereof) to draw penalties. Commenter Spoiler made several nice points in the post below, including this one:

I think Stortini's ability is as an agitator who can fight, not as an enforcer. Any analysis of him should also include penalties drawn.

Unfortunately, Stortini actually takes more penalties than he draws. It isn't all bad; watching the games, a 5-minute major to Stortini and say, Sarich or Regehr, is a big advantage to Edmonton, while it shows up as an even on the Desjardins chart. Still, I question whether Stortini fits in the role (yet, at least) as a Ruutu or Ott. NHL.com shows Stortini as finishing 3rd on the Oilers in minor penalties taken (behind the two guys who got thrown to the wolves), something which really should be addressed.

RTSS tells us that Stortini finished second on the Oilers in hits, and despite what some fans say (he's too slow to hit), to my eye he's actually a very good, clean hitter. He adds both size and sandpaper to the lineup, and he is still very young (23 next season).

Moving forward, I think he's Kelly Buchberger, albeit with a potentially stronger record as a fighter (yes, he'll get better at it as he ages a little bit). Buchberger played in over 1000 NHL games, and brought lots of value to the table in a lot of different ways. I think Stortini could very well do the same.

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