(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
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
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) February 20, 2017
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
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.
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.
THE #PRAYFORPLAYOFFS 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.
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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