Did the Oilers miss an opportunity in Michael Stone?


(Photo credit: Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

Michael Stone is a 26-year-old right-shot defenceman with
324 games of NHL experience. Last season he put up 36 points; this season he
played 20-plus minutes per game in Arizona. He’s also 6’3”, 210 pounds and as a
pending free agent carried minimal acquisition risk.

Yesterday the Calgary Flames acquired him for a third-round
draft pick, along with a conditional fifth-rounder if he were to re-sign in
southern Alberta. Did the Edmonton Oilers miss an opportunity to upgrade their
blue line?

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It seems unlikely.

The only thing that really gives me pause here is my respect
for Brad Treliving, who has done strong work running the Flames. He was also previously
a top executive with the Coyotes, so he has in-depth firsthand knowledge of

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Yet even Treliving wasn’t willing to commit to much more
than a cheap test drive on this player. When I researched
typical deadline values
earlier this week, I found that a third-round pick
was a pretty typical price for a No. 4/5 defenceman. Think Andrej Meszaros,
Mike Weber, or Justin Schultz. Teams have to pay more if there’s a belief that
a given rental can be solid top-four defencemen.

With Stone, there are good reasons to doubt. He’s coming off
knee surgery last summer and has had a bad season, the worst in years. There’s
also his longer-term record.

Writing for Bleacher Report earlier
this month
, I dug into the performance of his partners the last few years.
There was Keith Yandle, the gifted offensive defenceman. There was Oliver
Ekman-Larsson, the Coyotes’ franchise cornerstone. More recently, he’s paired
with Alex Goligoski, a big-name free agent signing with a long track record of
strong play.

Yandle struggled with Stone. Ekman-Larsson fared better with
fading veteran Zbynek Michalek. Goligoski drowned this season. All of them
helped Stone, but he didn’t return the favour.


The Oilers just don’t have any need to take a chance on a
player like that. Soon they’ll have eight healthy defencemen on the NHL roster.
Prospects Jordan Oesterle and Griffin Reinhart are both capable of taking on
NHL minutes now. If Edmonton really wants to give a shot to a right-shot
defender with a history of playing with stronger partners, they may as well
recall Mark Fayne (11 points in 20 AHL games), who actually had some successes
in that role and won’t cost them a draft pick.

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Maybe Stone finds his game next to Mark Giordano or T.J.
Brodie, in which case this trade will look like a good one for the Flames.
Calgary’s defence corps has quality but lacks depth, so there’s some logic in
rolling the dice in their shoes.

There isn’t any such logic in Edmonton. There was just no
need for the Oilers to burn a draft pick on a player who might end up slotting
in as the 10th-best defenceman in the organization anyway. 


Pray For Playoffs Party 

As you probably expected, the Pray for Playoffs party will be happening at the Pint Downtown on Friday, February 24th, with doors opening at 4pm and the hockey game starting at 5pm. Aside from making sure we’re all well hydrated, we’ve got the usual swag bags planned along with raffles, giveaways, and more. I encourage you to start coughing now so that your boss won’t be suspicious when you call in sick. 

As always, it wouldn’t be a Nation party without trying to raise as much money as possible for our charity partner, Sport Central. If you’re unfamiliar with their work, Sport Central is a local organization dedicated to making resources available to assist kids in sports in the Edmonton area as well as central and northern Alberta.

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Your $20 ticket gets you:

  • A Pray for Playoffs Party t-shirt
  • A $20 Pint GC
  • $10 worth of Oodle Noodle GCs
  • A lottery ticket for our door prizes
  • Access to the exclusive Pray for Playoffs NationGear launch
  • You’ll be in attendance for the re-launch of NationBeer! Yes, we have our own beer now. Not only that, we’ll buy a beer for the first 100 people to show up with their ticket as a thank you for your support. 

As always, all proceeds from ticket sales will be donated directly to Sport Central so bring your friends, get involved, and help us support a community in need. You can get your tickets here before they sell out.

This is a party that’s been 10 years in the making and you’re going to want to be a part of it.

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  • The Oilers do still lack depth for right shot defensemen; so much so that lefties like Russell, Sekera, or Oesterle are tasked with flanking their off hand. Not ideal.

    Righties (4):

    Lefties (11):

  • It’s a tricky situation because the Oilers don’t need Tyson Barry or PK Subban; They need the next Tyson Barry or the next PK Subban. Look at Maroon. For years the Oilers wanted Lucic, but what they really needed was the next Lucic. A power forward with a mean streak.

    I think they are in the same boat with that second pair right side D spot. Maybe it’s Benning, maybe it’s Bear. The concern is that it might be Michael Stone.

    If he does turn out to be good, then they will be in a similar situation the Jets find themselves in. 3 really good right side D men.

    Anyway, with so few right side guys, especially ones with size, I do wonder if maybe this year was just a case of recovering from injury. The history does not support this, but then we always say give guys like this time and manage their minutes. Maybe Arizona was simply Justin Schultzing this kid.

    • lucky

      I think you hit the nail quite squarely on the head. Don’t keep going after yesterday’s news. Need to find success in the boardroom as much as on the ice.

  • Glass

    At this point I’d strongly consider a RHD with potential. Montour, Sproul, etc. Pulock & Honka probably cost too much.

    You have to think Bear has a good shot at becoming a 3rd pairing RHD who can run the PP. Kind of fills a niche role. So we could use someone in the meantime, especially if Bear doesn’t make it.

  • FISTO Siltanen

    Did the Oilers miss out on Versteeg?

    If this is the best move the Flames can make best of luck to them and Stone. I’ll roll the dice with our team, thank you very much.

  • TruthHurts98

    Personally I’m glad they didn’t go after Stone, the rest of the season will confirm that. I think PC will have better options in the summer for a RHD and the Oilers defense is far better than the Flamers this season. I hope they add a couple of forwards that can put the puck in the net or win face-offs. Their d core is working out plenty fine this year so far.

  • passenger

    Absolutely not. Stone has had bad numbers for a couple years now, and has made better partners worse for the entirety of his career. He’d be a press box/3rd pair on what is already an underwhelming Oilers’ right side. Good luck to him, Brodie, and the Flurms (seriously), but I wouldn’t want him.

    What’s encouraging is that AZ got a 3rd in exchange for keeping some contract dollars. Might be able to get that 2nd for Russell after all.

  • CaptainLander

    With numbers comparable to Gryba I don’t think he is much of an upgrade…would be funny to sign him in the summer though.

    Being where the Oil are I don’t think they make any blueline moves. Especially if Kbom continues to play the way he has lately.

  • percy

    Stay the course, no need to chase rainbows. We have a pretty good chance of making the playoffs. I think staying with our def core could have big time rewards if they can get us to the 1st round and maybe beyond. Next season a few of our young def will have big time trade value, if need be.

  • camdog

    I expect the Oilers to be trading surplus depth d-man for help at forward this trade deadline. Maybe they’ll get 3-4 season ending injuries on the defense opening up a spot for another depth d-man, unfortunately that’s not really something you can plan for.

    When Nurse and Russell return to the line up I eagerly await the blog story line – Martin Marancin vs Brandon Davidson who’s the best 7th d-man in the league?

  • eeagain

    “Brad Treliving, who has done strong work running the Flames.”

    Hmm, let’s see the team he inherited from Burke/Feister makes the playoffs in his initial season despite having poor possession metrics. He doen’t see that the initial success is unsustainable and year 2 is a disaster (which some would have said was predictable). He stakes year 3 on a rookie coach and a hope and a prayer in goal.

    I think Willis needs to set the bar a bit higher.

    Oil have no use for Stone.

    • Natejax97

      I think Brad has done well in Calgary. He has brought in highly touted Hamilton who still has a ton of upside. Brower, versteeg are good depth at reasonable cost and he stood his ground on the Johnny contract.

      Calgary biggest problem is that their prospects have not developed anywhere in the vicinity of acceptability.

      That is more a development issue than a GM making good moves for the organization.

      The funny thing is that every one of their highly touted prospects had really good draft plus 1 years so it must be disappointing. Witherspoon and kulak should be filling the stone role…

      • Hemmercules

        The only thing Brad impressed me with was getting Jonny to sign under 7 mil. Brouwer and Steeg were desperation moves somewhat. I dont see either guy improving them that much. He was lucky to get Hamilton if the rumours are true that the Oil had a better offer and got blackballed because it was from Boston.

      • eeagain

        Interesting you suggest Brouwer as a positive move by the Phlemgs. Brouwer is on course for a sub 30 point season and at 31 years old, is at an age where his skills are likely to decline. A $4.5M cap hit for a sub 30 point forward??. Also a modified NT.

        Versteeg apparently went south due to a NMC that PC was not willing to do. How might this impact the Phlemgs ability to protect during the upcoming draft, I don’t know. But those who follow that team might have an opinion.

        One of PCs biggest wins this year has been getting Cagullia and Benning for free. It appears that he correctly assessed these two as being better than anything the Oil had in their system. I wonder if “Trev” was in on the bidding for these two, or did he think he had his bases covered from within?

  • Natejax97

    Benning>Stone. If Benning gets injured we have depth which is as good as stone.

    Nuff said.

    Depth at defense is great. Use trade assets on a depth center or right winger.

    And get LB some games so we get an idea of backup goalie for the deadline.

    • percy

      A good backup goalie is a must if we make the playoffs. Hopefully LB can take it on. If not then that’s our focus. Maybe a bone crushing 4th line LW for pou or fayne. Getting rid of their contracts would be a bonus in itself.

  • OilCan2

    The Flames need help to get into the playoffs. The Oilers will be cruising in on top of the Pacific with their well waxed surf board.

    Stone was a stop gap to give them 500 plus hockey to get to the post season.

    The Oilers can stand pat and wait for a gifted RW or RD to fall into their laps. There is no hurry and PC knows it. He probably has his eye on a prospect or pick (for Fayne or Pouliot) as the deadline deal sometime next week.

  • OriginalPouzar

    Sure, we could use another legit 2RD or 3RD going forward, however, with Russell doing an OK job playing his off side as a stop gap this year, we have Benning, Gryba and an off-side Russell to fill the 2RD and 3RD this year.

    Its not perfect, however, we have 8 legit NHL d-men and it doesn’t make sense to use our draft pick currency to get another, even if he does shoot right.

    I’d rather save that 3rd round pick to try and improve RW depth or 3C.

    It would have made sense to trade a 3rd rounder for Stone if we were also trading Russell for a 2nd rounder.

  • ntrprtr

    This past summer I thought that Stone might be a good/cheap acquisition to fill the RD hole on the Oilers blue line. Since then, however, I think that Benning has usurped Stone and Chairelli did right by staying the course.