UFA Decisions: Ryan Stone

Calgary Flames v Edmonton Oilers 

UFA Decisions considers the unrestricted free agents on the Oilers’ roster, starting with the most expensive and working down. Today we consider Ryan Stone.

Ryan Stone was one of the more highly-touted prospects in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, which was certainly the deepest in recent memory and has a case for being one of the deepest drafts in the history of the game. He ended up going early in the second round, 32nd overall, to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The funny thing with Stone is that his scouting report today is essentially the same as his scouting report on draft day. Penguins scout Mark Kelley, right after the Penguins drafted him, described him as a “two-way centerman who has a little bit of dirt in his game,” and that still holds true. Skating was an issue on draft day, and remains an issue now. Injuries were an issue on draft day and while I wouldn’t describe him as injury prone they’ve certainly hampered his development.

Stone adds some offence, but not a lot; he’s scored in the AHL but was snake-bit as an Oiler this year. He plays a smart positional game and likes the rough and tumble, two items which are rarities among Oilers’ forwards.

What I’d Do As G.M.

I like Stone, a lot. That’s from both a statistical angle and from watching him play this past season. He’s a guy who isn’t flashy and doesn’t have the ability to get from A to B as fast as some other players, but he makes the smart play almost all the time and adds edge to a forward corps that lacks it. He’s a tough player who can also play the game, and there’s a lot of value in that.

In Steve Tambellini’s shoes, I’d re-sign Stone on a one-way contract, possibly offering him a multi-year deal. I don’t know if Stone would take the security of something like a three year deal at league minimum, or if he’d want to gamble that he could get more money somewhere else, but I’m sold that he’s an NHL player and I think he could be a real bargain for the Oilers if they can keep the dollar figure low. 

What I Expect To Happen

I’m not sure what the Oilers are going to do with Stone, but I have a bad feeling they’re going to let him walk away. Generally, we get a fairly good idea of what the Oilers think of bubble players by their public comments – for example, Jean-Francois Jacques is in a comparable situation and Steve Tambellini has made it plain how he feels about him.

I suspect that they’ll put Stone on the backburner and sign him if he’s still available and they’re still looking for bodies later in the summer.

UPDATE: I’ve been told that Stone is an RFA; capgeek.com lists him as unrestricted but at this point it’s an open question what his free agent status is.

  • Ducey


    It may be getting ahead of your review but how about selecting a team just using the advanced 5 x 5 +/-rating as guide?

    It gives you Hemmer 2.51, (Seguin), Penner 1.90 as a first line

    Cogs .68, Gags .31, Brule .25 as a second

    And Stone .56, Pouliot .86, Storts 1.12 as a fourth

    This leaves no third line but I guess Horc and his -1.18 would stay there and maybe Jones .20 with a new checker on the wing.

    That means you throw Nilsson, POS, Comrie, JFJ, Potulny, Moreau, Pisani out with the bathwater.

    • Oh brother

      Only in Edmonton would we get our panties in a knot debating the future of Ryan Stone. And this statistics chart. Dude, go outside, get some fresh air, come back inside when the draft is on. Then go outside again.

  • Ducey

    If its one guy they have to keep that would be on cheap end, its this guy, does alot of good things on the ice, smart and can stir things up if need be. i liked watching him when he was in the line up

  • SkinnyD

    Sorry for getting excited there, it was my first ever fist.

    I think Stone and Potulny are comparable guys, maybe Potulny’s just a bit more ahead in his development?

    If Stone could get his skating to a better place, he’d be a real solid guy to have longer-term. I remember his assist on that sick Nilsson goal in Detroit – no-look through his legs off the boards, then Bobby undressed the D. They had some chemistry.

    Although, I really don’t understand any NHL-er having issues with skating. Is that not all conditioning? Put down the chips, get off your fat ass, and hit the gym! If Dustin did it, so can you.

  • SkinnyD

    He had to have another surgery on the knee as it wasn’t responding properly after the first surgery. Unfortunately for him and JFJ, I think the club is going to look elsewhere for grit as we lost too many man games last year and they don’t want a repeat. Both guys are fragile and have to go.

  • Chris.

    It’s gonna be a long summer… don’t blow through the canned content too fast JW… You’re progressing through the relevent discussion items at an alarming rate and are in danger of running the well dry.

    Maybe you should do a three part series on the life and times of every single potential UFA in the league; every Oiler prospect or rumored available prospect from every organization; every single draft eligible JR; and even the bantam players who will likely be among the top picks available to the Oilers years from now when they are still regularly cashing in on their annual lottery pick…

    Is it 2015 yet?

    • Bucknuck

      Chris, this is the perfect time of year for this. Later in the summer stuff will be happening and we can talk about that. The draft, free agent signings, trades, oh my.

      Right now everyone is watching the playoffs and sitting on their hands. I need these articles right now as otherwise there is a dirth of Oilers news.

  • Skidplate

    I agree with your assessment of Stone, but disagree with what you think the organization will do with him. I think they have learned their lesson by now and will not be chasing the expensive FA’s. This leaves time to deal with the smaller cogs and they will sign Stone to a deal as you stated, 3 year slightly above league min.

  • Skidplate

    Ryan Stone’s family cheer’s for him down here in Calgary. For myself, being being from Edmonton and living behind enemy lines as I say, it’s nice to have some Calgarian’s cheering for the right team.

  • Hemmertime

    Open Question:

    My friends call me insane since I really have no vested stake in Oilers winning…

    But if you had your choice between $1000 cash or the Oilers winning Presidents Trophy and Stanley Cup… which would you prefer? (Season ticket holders I guess we’ll say $5000)

    I’d take the Championship in a heartbeat, the season and joy it would provide would be more pleasure than $1000 could provide me, even factoring in erotic massages. Most of my friends think the opposite.

    How do you feel?

    • Good heavens man. I’d cheerfully chop of my baby toe if it meant the Oilers won the Cup. As I understand it, the baby toe does little for balance or walking stability.

      “Sayonara ol’ toe!”*

      *What I would actually say

    • Ender

      Three scenarios to look at here:

      1) Someone is giving me $1000 or an Oilers Cup. No brainer, I pick the Cup. I don’t even have season seats and I’d still take the Cup over $5000, on the strict condition that my wife can never know.

      2) Would I pay $1000 of my own money if it would mean a Cup? Mmmmmm . . . harder. I don’t have that kind of disposable income so it would mean some sacrifices and some serious financial camoflauge. Ah, who am I kidding . . . I’d find a way. Done deal.

      3) Would I cut off a pinky toe? Well, that depends. My own toe, uhhhhhh . . . no I think I draw the line there. If the toes don’t have to belong to me, though, heck, I’ll get you a whole bag of toes for an Oilers Cup. Truthfully, I know a few people who I’ve just been looking for an excuse to cut their toes off anyway, so . . . ummmm . . . oh look, I’ve gone and said too much. Awkward . . .

        • Ender

          There’s a bit more, but yes that is the primary basis. Ender has become a bit more than a nickname for me; at work, that is all that everyone across Canada calls me.

          @ Menacer

          Your scenario is worth two bags of toes!

      • If I’m giving up the $1000, then I think I would prefer them NOT to win the President’s trophy, and have some excitement on the cup drive.

        If we could choose the matchups on the way to the cup, I might go: Calgary, Vancouver, San Jose or Chicago, and then Toronto (note the extra satisfaction I will get from the tears of other Canadian cities).

  • JW, I’m curious, how was it Tambo felt about JFJ? Not coming back I take it? To me, guys like Stone and JFJ are as valuable as diamonds on this team, unless we can replace them with better parts, because we have no grit or sandpaper. These kinds of guys are not as easy to get as one might think.

  • I loved watching him play the few games he did play this season. I’d prefer him over Jacques and I really hope to see him back next season!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Stone is a good player, but we haven’t seen enough of him, He’s had knee surgery twice on the same knee. Two way one year contract is all i’d offer on a 10 percent increase. He’s too injury prone.

  • Jackie Treehorn wrote:
    Ryan Stone’s family cheer’s for him down here in Calgary. For myself, being being from Edmonton and living behind enemy lines as I say, it’s nice to have some Calgarian’s cheering for the right team.

    Haah? Ino an Jadd?

  • White Copper and Blue 99

    Keep Ryan Stone, He actually is a knuckledragger. Yes for most GMs that would be their argument to get rid of him but we need knuckledraggers.

    • Ducey

      Sorry, I guess I wasn’t clear. I was thinking that the 5 x 5 rating here actually does reflect who I would keep on the team…


      Thanks for the sage advice. Next time someone starts a thread on Ryan Stone, I will just post a comment on how stupid the topic, the city, and the person is. That’s way cooler than trying to add to the conversation by using stats.

  • @Jon/Ogden Brother Jr.:

    That’s how I read it too, but the source was excellent. One possible explanation might be how age is calculated in section 10.1 of the CBA; throughtout the document it is sometimes counted as a) actual age b) age as of Jan. 1 c) age as of Sept. 15 d) age as of June 30.

    D would be my guess here, and I can’t see any reason for him not to be unrestricted.

  • @ Hemmertime

    I would be willing to kill a man for a Klondike bar so $1000 for an Oilers cup, done.

    Also, this delicious Klondike bar I’m munching on would also solve the issue of potentially having to pay for an Oilers cup with toes.