77

Flames recall Michael Stone from Stockton Heat

One blood clot, months of recovery, and three AHL games later, Michael Stone is back in the NHL.

After playing just three games during his AHL conditioning stint, the Flames have brought Stone back up from the Heat. Sent down just six days prior, he registered two assists in his time with the Heat, reportedly partnering with Rinat Valiev and serving as a mentor to the prospective defencemen still in the minors.

Stone last played in the NHL on Nov. 11 against the Sharks. He has four assists in the 11 games this season, but the low playing time wasn’t just due to the discovery of a blood clot – it was also because Rasmus Andersson had effectively taken over his job. When Travis Hamonic was injured in the first game of the season, the Flames brought up Andersson, and he dressed as a regular, slowly and steadily starting to get more playing time than Stone. When Hamonic came back, it was settled: Andersson was a regular NHLer now, and Stone was the odd man out.

What Stone gives the Flames now, though – aside from the relief that everything appears to be okay – is even more options as the team ramps up for the playoffs. There’s just under a month of the regular season left, and the Flames are now carrying nine defencemen (Juuso Valimaki remains in the AHL, but in theory, he would be the 10th guy, assuming the Heat fail to make their playoffs). Stone is a veteran of over 400 games and would, in all likelihood, be playing a relatively minor role when he does dress.

He also gives the Flames another right-shot defenceman – something they had been missing, as Oliver Kylington and Oscar Fantenberg are left shots, and Dalton Prout, the extra righty, is probably the weakest defender on the team.

There are 13 games left in the regular season; while Stone almost certainly won’t dress for all of them, one would think he’ll still get a couple in here and there. The Flames next play against the Devils on Tuesday – and they’re one of the few teams below .500 in the NHL, so… maybe then?

    • everton fc

      Seems to me Fantenberg is giving our organization some options, this summer. If he proves to be an adequate 6/7 defender, we have some chips to play, at the draft. I think we’ll see a rotation of Fantenberg/Kylington/Prout/Stone, until the playoffs. Then we’ll see who becomes the true, daily “#6”.

        • withachance

          Stone is making 75% of Brodie’s cap. I think if cap issues are the main concern, you start with Stone and Frolik, and Brodie is dealt if only to make a legit upgrade through a trade. I bet Flames goes back to Zucker in the offseason.

          • HOCKEY83

            Don’t think flames are gonna add Zucker’s salary when trying to get rid of guys to be able to afford guys they got to sign. They need about 15 mil to sign the players they’re going to want to sign conservatively. Adding zucker’s 5.5 seems impossible unless they get rid of some key salaries. I think how well they do in the playoffs will dictate what moves they make in the summer.

          • Skylardog

            Stone will be untradeable due to his health issue. No one is going to be willing to take him on. Perhaps if we ate half his salary, but even that is unlikely. We are stuck with him for next season. The best hope to free up his salary was to have him on LTIR.

    • Jobu

      Jobu would say more like 60% and only if for a wicked Top 6 type return or solid prospect to keep the fresh blood coming in.

      Lets not forget he has been a big part of our top pairing, even if it doesn’t show on the eye test or score sheet.

      Dont mess with a good thing!

        • Willi P

          Have watched most games since oh, around 1980.

          Brodie makes Gio better as proven by #5s career numbers both now and his previous high. Brodie, just like every other dman makes mistakes but he is a top pair guy on many teams. The fact that a bunch of Flames Nation posters have their pitchforks out for Brodie does make him less of a player.

          • Flint

            Brodie is on the last year of his contract next year. We have a glut of young defenceman who need to be playing. We should sell high. There is no way Brodie will be resigning for the same or less than he makes now, so that means a raise or we keep him for next year and lose him for nothing or pennies at the TDL.

            We’ll have Gio (LD), Hanafin (LD), Valikmaki (LD), Kylington (LD), Andersson (RD), Stone (RD), and we can re-sign Hamonic (RD) and Fantenberg (LD/RD) and Prout (RD) and have 9 NHL defenders.

            Brodie may be able to fetch us a forward. It 100% makes sense to deal him in the offseason.

            It has nothing to do with pitchforks, I just don’t see Brodie as a guy with upward trajectory, I don’t see him coming back for cheaper and I don’t think he’s as good as his pay since he’s soon to be a 3rd pairing guy IMHO.

            Sure, if we can move Stone…. fine, but he’s not going to give us anything of value back in trade.

  • Vinnsanity0412

    Kylington and Prout off to Stockton, rotate Stone and Fantenberg until one of them really takes over the position, Valimaki up if necessary. Playoff hockey appears to have started early, it is heavy and mean, and at this time Kylington would be the odd man out in my mind. Love the guy, but its team first at this point.

  • withachance

    Gio – Brodie/Ras
    Hanifin – Hamonic
    Brodie/Fantenberg – Ras/Brodie/Stone

    Looks like Kylington and Prout are going to be the odd ones out. The 3rd pairing looking STRONG

  • Off the wall

    I’m glad we have D options.
    We’re going to need it come playoffs. You can never have enough players waiting in the chute, to help the team out.

    My old truck is going to get a new look, with Flames on it. It’ll be done sometime next week. Wohoo!

    I’m hoping for a long postseason, but even if it isn’t, I’m really proud of our Flames season! ?

  • flames2015

    It’s definitely nice to have some depth options that this is even a discussion of who to send down and who to keep. Remember the first year of GG’s tenure and first game where he had the genius idea of pairing a good defenseman with a not so good one. Gio- Wideman, Brodie- Engelland, and Hamilton-Grossman.

  • cjc

    Lots of people think we will trade Stone, but I can’t see that happening. He has a 15 team NTC, has played all of 11 games so far this year and lost his spot to a rookie. I’d say a buyout is looking more likely. Maybe a team that needs to reach the cap floor, but Stone probably rejects that trade.

    • SeanCharles

      It shouldn’t be too difficult to offload an expiring contract, especially if he gets a few games in to finish the season – granted his NTC will make things tricky. The one thing that will work in our favor is I know Stone was not happy being a healthy scratch. I’m sure he’d rather play somewhere less desirable than riding the pine in Calgary.

      How the blueline looks next season is extremely fascinating because the potential outcomes are seemingly endless.

      The guys we know aren’t going anywhere are Gio, Hanifin, Hamonic, Andersson and Valimaki. The other 5 guys who knows..

      I personally hope Kylington and Fantenberg are part of the plans but if we can’t trade Stone it might make things too crowded to keep both.

  • BendingCorners

    Stone might see a game or two but he should not expect to dress most nights, and not at all in the playoffs. He used to be “not awful” but has slowed down so much that Prout looks better. Not sure what the Flames will do with him this summer. They could use the cap space so some kind of trade seems likely, or else a buyout.

    • Richard B. Rittich

      Hopefully the months of skating work he’s put in have helped. Reports have him skating better than he has ever before. Would be a welcome improvement.

  • Gus Fring

    We have a lot of D men but I read somewhere or maybe heard it on the fan. The word was that once Tre landed Fantenberg he had a trade with a Dman going somewhere?? Obviously that didn’t work out. Always wonder if it was Brodie for Zucker maybe??? Or was there more trades coming but they simply just ran out of time? I don’t think having all these D men was part of the plan. It’s not a bad thing but I don’t think this was his game plan from the beginning. Going to be a interesting off season.

  • Guest

    Slightly better but more expensive Prout. Never liked the signing and cap hit. Held Andersson down far too long.

    Good for him to be healthy but shouldn’t play and will hopefully move without being tied to someone on the off-season.

    Watching every team with speed (I.e. all west playoff teams), blow past Stone and watch exit passes in skates or panic dump outs will be something I can pass on.