Zack Stortini & the Barons vs. Abbotsford on Mar. 5, 2011 in Oklahoma City (Photo by Steve Christy / OKC Barons).
Zack Stortini cleared waivers and was assigned to the Oklahoma City Barons by the Edmonton Oilers on February 2. The change of scenery is not quite what the forward is used to lately.
Stortini spent all of the past two seasons with the Oilers in the NHL. He has played 256 career NHL games, every single one of them with Edmonton.
The 6-4, 215 pound right winger from Elliot Lake, Ontario, played a career NHL high 77 games last season, scoring four goals and nine assists. It was a career-best 13 points.
Stortini was selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the third round (94th overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
The right-winger is no stranger to the American Hockey League, having played 117 games Toronto, Milwaukee, Iowa, Hamilton and Springfield between 2003 and 2008.
But this is Stortini's first stay in OKC and he seems to have taken a shining to his new surroundings.
"It's a fantastic city," Stortini said."I got the opportunity to go out and venture around, see the sights and it's a tremendous city. Very nice people and it's a very warm city. Absolutely, everyone welcomes you with open arms."
Stortini scored his first goal as a Baron February 25 against San Antonio in a crucial division game. He is glad he could find twine and help is team grab the 3-2 win.
"It was a great feeling being able to contribute offensively like that. It's always good for me to score and more importantly we got a big two points (against San Antonio)."
The Barons' new face seems to be settling in nicely with the familiar faces in the locker room.
"There's a great group of guys down here. I'm having fun with the guys down here."
Stortini and the Barons are in the midst of a major homestand that could determine their playoff future. They skate in four games this week, including three at home against Manitoba Tuesday and Grand Rapids Friday and Saturday.