Michael Stone made the Calgary Flames roster out of training camp.
Prior to Saturday’s game against Detroit, he had been a healthy scratch 55 times. But with Oliver Kylington unavailable with a lower body injury, he was pressed into service for the first time in just over three months.
The Flames coaching staff opted to keep things simple for their game against Detroit: aside from slotting Stone in alongside Chris Tanev, the other two defense pairings were kept intact. It was a bit of a gamble for a defender who really had played just one game as a regular blueliner this season – his season debut in late October was as seventh defender – and hadn’t played since Dec 5.
(You could also argue it was an endorsement of Tanev’s ability to be a reliable partner for just about anybody.)
The Stone gamble paid off. Replacing Kylington, who averaged 18:25 in ice time this season, Stone played 18:01 against the Red Wings (all at even strength). He was plus-1 with three blocked shots, six hits, and a secondary assist on Blake Coleman’s third period goal.
“I’m proud of his effort,” said Sutter of Stone. “Tells you about what he puts in every day.”
(Sutter smiled when informed that Stone got an assist: “Good for him.”)
Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom, who registered a shutout in the win, had some unprompted praise for Stone when reflecting on his ninth shutout of the season.
“Stoney I think had three blocks just in the first period,” said Markstrom. “Him coming in and playing like he did tonight, it was great to see.”
Sutter didn’t have much of an update on Kylington’s status following the game, noting that his unavailability was a surprise to him given that Kylington was a full participant in Friday’s practice.
The Flames return to action on Sunday in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche.
Looking to up your fantasy hockey game? DailyFaceoff has the tools you need for both daily and season-long fantasy leagues, including a lineup optimizer, daily projections, and a whole lot more. Sign up for the DailyFaceoff tools here.