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Calgary Flames

Stone’s Ascent Just What Flames Needed to Start Season




The Legend of Michael Stone is growing. Whether you compare him to a fine wine or Benjamin Button, the Calgary Flames defenceman seems to get better with age.

At 32, on yet another one-year deal after a training camp tryout, Stone is taking advantage of every opportunity presented. He basically forced the Flames to sign him as the sixth defencemen after a solid camp and preseason.

And he’s not satisfied with just making the team again. Stone is intent to show he shouldn’t be taken out of the lineup.

That has presented the franchise with the luxury of time as it waits for news on the return of Oliver Kylington. Last year’s surprise breakout on the back end is dealing with a personal family issue and there is no known timetable for his return.

With Connor Mackey currently serving as the seventh defenceman, Stone is showing he still belongs in the NHL.

In fact, he posted a career-high three points on Saturday’s 4-3 win over the Oilers in Edmonton. And those points all came in the opening period, putting him in elite company.

Asked when he found out he had three, the humble veteran shrugged.

“I did the second period there, Hockey Night (in Canada interview), so I guess that’s when I figured it out,” Stone said.

“I don’t’ think it’s ever happened. That’s what I was told. But I don’t really keep track of that.”

Stone assisted on Mikael Backlund’s opener, then slapped one of his trademark blasters in for his first of the year. He didn’t even see the result of his efforts on the Kadri goal. Stone tipped Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ shot attempt and Kadri scooped it up. Kadri raced up the wing and then capitalized on former Calgary Flames defenceman Brett Kulak’s stumble. His breakaway goal gave Stone the triple.

“I was changing; I had no idea what happened,” Stone laughed. “I knew I got my stick on it, but I had no idea he was the one that picked it up right after.”

Stone’s ascent to a more regular role is exactly what the Flames needed to start this season.

It gives them plenty of options when Kylington does return.

That includes the opportunity to explore the NHL trade market to add another top-six forward.

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