I’ve always been a fan of Stortini. It always sucks to see these guys go (and let’s face it, at best, he’ll be going to Oklahoma City.. at worst, he’ll get claimed) because they generally put a lot into the community. And quite frankly, Stortini definitely did his part.
There was a time where I thought Stortini would be a key part of our rebuild, and I think many (although definitely not all) of you thought the same. He showed a lot of work ethic, he was a decent skater and a solid hitter, and he rarely took bad penalties or gave you the feeling it was a bad idea to have him on the ice. He also was known as a leader-type (perhaps leader by example might be a better description though).
However, on the bad side, his fighting ability is what most would consider average at the best of times. He needed motivation on a semi-frequent basis (in the form of a benching or two). And lastly, while I doubt this was the case, he looked a little complacent in his play and comfortable in his position. His contributions in a game dropped off dramatically. No longer was he agitating opponents and getting them off their game, and no longer was he running rampant, hitting everything in sight.
It’s no secret that he entered Tom Renney’s doghouse quite early on and struggled up until today to get out of it. His days were numbered. Hemsky makes his return tomorrow (by the sounds of it), and the Oilers needed to free up room on their playing roster. So the choices were quite limited. They could have waived players with promise like Reddox (which is a bad idea). They could have demoted a solid player that is a part of their long term like Omark or Paajarvi (not an overly bad idea at all). They could have waived someone else like Jason Strudwick (too well liked by this organization), Steve MacIntyre (who actually fills the need of fighter better than anyone on the team) or J.F. Jacques (a fan non-favorite, it seems, who, this year, has shown just enough potential one night to make you forget the other 3 nights he’s invisible).
I think Stortini’s demotion/waiving was the right choice. I hope he clears though, as I think he could be a strong addition to Oklahoma City.
At any rate, I don’t think this is a huge loss to the team if he’s claimed. Our entire fourth line needs to be revisited. With 3 potential high-flying scoring lines, we need one very solid defensive line. That means no more J.F. Jacques (a player I really like because of his physical abilities), no more Colin Fraser (what does he bring to the table?), and no more Stortini. Steve MacIntyre is a question mark for me as he does fill a need. I think in some ways, Tom Renney is as much to blame for MacIntyre’s phasing-out as anything. In some ways, I think Renney’s style has phased out all 3 of the “tough guys”.
It’s LONG time for Renney and Tambellini to get on the same page though. I’ve thought for a while now that we really need to make our 4th line a defensive-specialist line. I’d go hard for Konopka, as I’ve mentioned several times, to be our 4th line center, as he can actually play regular PK minutes. As for the wings, look for any penalty-killers that might be available in free agency. Liam Reddox could also be a guy that we put on one of the wings here on line 4. The other slot should definitely be given to a high-profile PKer. The all goon like works if we’ve got defensive players scattered throughout our ranks, but we don’t.
What are your thoughts on the Stortini waiving?