The defining moment for Zack Stortini’s season came opening night. During the player introductions, familiar names and new were cheered heartily until they got to #91 (Pääjärvi). Then came the announcement (quickly) “not in the lineup tonight #22 JF Jacques, #38 Jeff Deslauriers, #43 Jason Strudwick and #46 Zack Stortini.”
The look on Zack Stortini’s face said it all. He’d been HS’d on opening night (either that or he’d been working the laundry room at Shawshank).
Zack Stortini 10-11
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.07 (12th among forwards but DNQ)
- 5×4 points per 60: nil
- Qual Comp: 12th toughest faced among forwards but DNQ
- Qual Team: best available teammates among forwards but DNQ
- Corsi Rel: -4.59 (11th best among forwards but DNQ)
- Zone Start: 45.2% (toughest among forwards but DNQ)
- Zone Finish: 41.6% (worst among regular forwards but DNQ)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 16 shots, no goals
- Boxcars: 32gp, 0-4-4
- Plus Minus: -2 on a team that was -52
- What do these numbers tell us? Stortini is credited with playing with the best available teammates, although the lines he played on (Fraser-Jacques 35%) (Fraser-Jones 31%) suggests otherwise. I think he played as well as one could expect with those linemates and the zone start. Tom Renney didn’t think he could play a lot of roles.
- How could these numbers be better? Tom Renney handled him about the same as MacT and Quinn in terms of EV minutes (Quinn used him 9, Renney and MacT 7–all at evens). The only way they could have been effective minutes for the Oilers is with better linemates. Jim Dowd, that kind of guy.
- Why did Renney send him out? Two reasons, I think. First, Stortini’s foot speed had to be a concern and second the PK was bleeding and the team had Reddox for that role in the minors. The Stortini firing came about for solid hockey reasons.
- How did he lose his role? First, we have to define his role. Stortini was a 4th liner who could agitate, fight some and not cost a lot of stupid goals or penalties. As long as those things were covered, I think Quinn and MacT felt he served a useful role.
- Why couldn’t he keep this role? Tom Renney made some wonky roster decisions. He sent away guys like Omark and Reddox out of camp in favor of guys like Steve MacIntyre, J-F Jacques and Stortini. When the club was floundering on the PK and trying to juggle 5 guys who could neither take or make a pass, someone had to go.
- So he lost his job to Jacques? I guess so. I’d say he lost it to foot speed. It was bound to happen sooner or later, he wasn’t touched by God or anything.
- Can he come back? Sure. He’s a better player than a bunch of the end of the roster guys, but it’s also true he was better than those guys the day he was sent out.
- Will he make the club in 11-12? I don’t think it is a good idea to bring him back because he was holding on to an NHL job by a thread the whole time. An upgrade would be in order, or better yet keep someone like Reddox who can handle the “Toby Petersen” role.
- The “Toby Petersen” role? Yeah, a “jack of all trades” kid who can fill a few roles here and there and make himself useful. NHL coaches have kept these guys in business for decades.
- Will he get another NHL shot? Sure. Stortini has 256 NHL games behind him, someone will give him a contract and he’ll do enough useful things to get a callup when injuries hit. I wouldn’t be shocked to see MacT trade for him (or wait for the Oilers to decline to qualify) and use him in the exact same way in Minnesota. Then again, these players are readily available.
- Who takes his job next season? Hmmm. I’ll say Reddox, but Colin McDonald is an interesting player.
By the Numbers
•07-08 5×5 per 60m: 1.24
•08-09 5×5 per 60m: 1.76
•09-10 5×5 per 60m: 1.04
•10-11 5×5 per 60m: 1.07