Water is wet, sky is blue, and the Calgary Flames have signed Michael Stone to a contract this season. The Flames announced today that they have signed the 32-year-old blueliner to a one-year, two-way deal playing him $750K this season.
Stone’s time as a Calgary Flame
Stone has been with the Flames since the 2016–17 season, but only played a full 82-games for the team once in 2017–18. He has mostly been a very reliable seventh defenceman, coming in when there has been an injury to one of the team’s regulars.
Last season, Stone featured in 11 regular season games—putting up six points in that time. He really was a bright spot for the team in the playoffs, where he appeared in nine games, putting up two goals and three assists to fill in for the injured Chris Tanev on the blueline as he battled through numerous ailments. And while he clearly was not as good as the Flames’ defensive specialist, Stone was serviceable for a player who spent most of the year in the pressbox.
A refreshed performance in the 2022–23 preseason
As with every preseason, there are questions as to whether Stone will be back with the team. Be it Stone earning a larger role somewhere else or the team electing to go with someone else in the role, this question comes each summer, but Stone showed he earned this contract this preseason.
In five preseason games, Stone led the way for the Flames with three goals and an assist. He also led the team with 18 shots on net and 27 shot attempts with his legendary bomb from the point. Stone was also a positive possession player, on the ice for more shot attempts for than against. This is always a good sign for a player trying to earn a job with a team on a PTO.
Immediate expectations of Stone
Stone will likely start the season on the ice with Oliver Kylington dealing with a personal matter. He is expected to suit up next to Nikita Zadorov on the third pairing, in what will be a scary third pairing to go up against for any team in the league. He probably will swap out with Connor Mackey as the team experiments with their defencemen in Kylington’s absence.
The nice thing about having Stone in the lineup is that there is no harm in sitting him for long stretches at a time. He has been in the league long enough that he knows how to condition himself for games as needed, and there is no risk of his development slowing down without game time for weeks on end like there is for younger players.
Signing Stone to another deal is a no-brainer for this team, and just adds to what has been a legendary Summer of Brad for the Flames this year. Treliving’s summer checklist was closed with the official 2022–23 opening night roster being announced. Signing Stone then, is a great first item to tick off for the 2022–23 season. The Flames are looking more ready than to start the new season.