Zack Stortini, known jokingly as "Huggy Bear" to Oiler fans, has embraced a three-year contract with Edmonton.
The 22-year-old right winger was reportedly seeking a salary in the $1 million per year range but the contract is only worth a total of $2.1 million (an average of $700,000 a season).
The Oilers let Stortini's linemate, Curtis Glencross, walk when they felt his salary demands were getting too high and with the signing of tough guy Jason Strudwick, it was unclear whether or not Stortini would sign in Edmonton.
But the team decided to retain the 6'4", 228-lb. native of Elliot Lake, Ont. when they announced his signing today.
“Zack had a very productive season last year and we’re looking for him to build from that," said Oilers Vice-President of Hockey Operations Kevin Prendergast in a press release. "He’s an intimidating presence on the ice and is establishing himself as an important part of our hockey club”.
Stortini's abilities as a fighter are questionable. Although he is a willing participant, fans dubbed him "Huggy Bear" because of his tendency to grapple with opponents rather than duke it out.
However, Stortini has turned himself into a pest on the ice and he proved to be an effective fourth-line player at times last season.
Stortini put up 12 points (three goals, nine assists) and 201 penalty minutes in 66 games in 2007-08. He ranked fifth in penalty minutes in the NHL last year.
Meanwhile, the Oilers also inked forward Carl Corazzini to a one-year deal.
Here's more on Corazzini from the Oilers' website:
"Corazzini is coming off a career season with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins, recording career-highs in assists (36) and points (60) after collecting 24-36-60 in 80 games played.
Entering his eighth professional season in 2008-09, the Framingham, Massachusetts native has played 19 career NHL games with the Boston Bruins (12 games in 2003-04) and Chicago Blackhawks (7 games in 2006-07), recording three points (2-1-3)."