Oilers likely to offer up Stortini as trade bait at NHL entry draft

When Edmonton Oilers winger Zack Stortini was exiled to the Oklahoma City Barons late this past season with no recall from the American Hockey League affiliate club, it likely means he doesn’t figure into their plans as a fourth-line agitator.

It’s likely the Oilers will offer up the popular forward, who has had 80 regular-season fights as an Oiler, at the June 24-25 NHL entry draft, for a pick. I

And it wouldn’t be the first time the Oilers moved a young player, who just didn’t seem to fit any longer, at the draft. At the 2004 draft, Edmonton brass dealt winger Jason Chimera to the Phoenix Coyotes for second- and fourth-round picks and drafted Geoff Paukovich, who was a swing and a miss, and Liam Reddox, who turned out to be a useful role player who just signed in Sweden.

If the Oilers can’t deal Stortini, 25, who has played 256 games for the organization, they have two options. They can make him a qualifying offer to keep his rights, starting on the Monday following the draft; or let him walk as an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Most teams prefer to get something for an asset. The Dallas Stars reportedly sniffed around last season, but they didn’t have room for Stortini on their roster. Maybe they Oilers will just let him go, as they did with Marc Pouliot late last June.

“I haven’t decided yet what to do with Zack,” said Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini.