While not technically a ‘prospect’ in the young, developing sense of the word, it’s nonetheless interesting to evaluate the progress of Calgary native Ryan Stone, who spent a good chunk of his first season in the Flames organization recovering from a major knee injury and finding his footing once again in the AHL.
After 27 games with the Edmonton Oilers in 2009-10 in which he collected six assists and was a +2, Stone signed a two-way, $500K contract with the Flames last July; after joining Abbotsford in December, Stone scored 11 times (his highest total since 2008-09 when he was with Wilkes-Barre/Springfield), and added 14 assists for 25 points in 51 games. The sad part is that he finished the season ranked fifth on the Heat in scoring.
Before his progress was de-railed by injuries, Stone had established himself as a fairly reliable bottom-six forward for the Oilers. He made up for what he lacked in speed and finesse by consistently bringing a physical element to his game, being aware, responsible, and pushing the puck in the right direction.
Stone is still just 26-years old and is a UFA as of July 1, but with Fredrik Modin retiring and Brendan Morrison possibly re-locating to a new area code as a free agent himself, the Flames may want to consider re-signing him on the cheap. He’s not going to score you a lot of points, but there’s some value to be had in a third or fourth liner who won’t bleed goals against and can answer the bell when necessary–someone like Tim Jackman.
Unless Feaster manages to ship out some bodies this summer without taking a roster player back in return, there aren’t too many spots opening up at forward ahead of next season, and unless someone like Greg Nemisz or Lance Bouma has an outstanding preseason, awarding a place to someone like Ryan Stone would be a low-risk, low reward move for the new general manager.
by Hayley Mutch