Fantasy Impact: The Flames Acquire Michael Stone

by steve laidlaw on February 20, 2017

Fantasy Impact: The Flames have acquired Michael Stone from the Coyotes in exchange for a 3rd round pick and a conditional 5th rounder.

 

The Flames get: A rental defenseman who has played in Arizona’s top four for the past couple of seasons but was clearly going to be passed by younger options like Connor Murphy, Jakob Chychrun, and Anthony DeAngelo in the near future. The Coyotes also have veterans like Alex Goligoski and Oliver Ekman-Larsson better suited for big minutes.

Stone’s minutes fell from a career high 22:28 last season to 20:13 this season. At least a minute of that drop came on the power play where he went from a sometimes first-unit guy to a sometimes afterthought. He posted 15 power-play points last season, en route to a career high 36 points. At 26 years old, you’d figure he was trending upward.

That has not been the case as Stone’s 5-on-5 play has tanked. He is one of the absolute worst possession players on a team that is dreadful at puck possession. The Coyotes controlled only 42.3% of the shot attempts with Stone on the ice at 5-on-5. Only four of Stone’s nine points on the year have come at even strength.

Stone has been a drag on partners all season, most especially Goligoski, Stone’s partner for two thirds of his shifts. Goligoski’s Corsi-For Percentage is 3.5% higher when away from Stone. Again, this is a bad team but Stone was making things abjectly worse.

While Stone is a right-handed defenseman and these are always in demand, he isn’t a particularly good option and it would be tough to argue that he is better than what they already have. The Flames, in their quest to upgrade on Dennis Wideman as their fourth defenseman may have actually traded for a worse option.

Where exactly Stone fits in Calgary is an interesting question. The Flames are locked in with TJ Brodie quarterbacking one power play unit, while the duo of Mark Giordano and Dougie Hamilton works the other unit. There has been little room for Wideman to break into any PP time, and there certainly won’t be for Stone unless the Flames drastically change their PP groups. Don’t count on it.

Stone may wind up lost in the shuffle as merely a depth defenseman. His presence may send one of Wideman or Deryk Engelland to the press box or elsewhere via trade but ultimately, he is not an upgrade.

It should be mentioned that the Flames signed Matt Bartkowski last week. While his deal is likely just to fill expansion draft needs, they are quickly becoming fat on the blue line. Another deal may be imminent.

The expectation is that Stone will be paired with Brodie from the jump but if the impact is similar to what Stone did with Goligoski the results will not be pretty. The Flames will want to know what they have in Stone so expect him to see ice time early on but if he performs no better than he has in Arizona he’ll be lost in the shuffle.

Stone is not a fantasy relevant player and while he moves to a much better team, it is also a team that doesn’t have the PP minutes to give out that would make Stone relevant again.

As negative as all of this comes off. Perhaps a fresh start is what Stone needs to get on the right track.

 

The Coyotes get: a decent draft pick for a player headed to unrestricted free agency who no longer fit their long-term plans. They get a later pick if Stone re-signs in Calgary. The Coyotes did retain half of Stone’s remaining salary but as an expiring deal this will have no impact on Arizona’s long-term cap.

Instead, the Coyotes have opened up a roster spot to recall DeAngelo or perhaps a veteran like Jarred Tinordi or Jamie McBain. That the Coyotes have cleared out a player skating 20 minutes a night with secondary PP time means there is a potentially fantasy-relevant role opening up. DeAngelo makes the most sense to fill this void but maybe they want to see what Chychrun has to offer with the man-advantage.

 

Players this helps, in order:

Anthony DeAngelo

Jakob Chychrun

Alex Goligoski

Michael Stone

 

Players this hurts, in order:

TJ Brodie

Dennis Wideman

Deryk Engelland

 

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