Irresponsible Rumormongering

Trade target: Michael Stone

Stone put up 36 points (six goals, 30 assists) last season

With the Rangers sputtering, anticipation is quickly building for the March 1 trade deadline. Unlike in past years, New York is set up front, so it’s hard to fathom a deal for another forward. But it’s no secret that the Rangers desperately need help on defense and have been searching for a top-four blueliner for much of the season.

The options are limited, but one name that appears likely to be on the move is Arizona’s Michael Stone. He wouldn’t be the sexy acquisition many crave, but the pending free agent might help fortify the back-end.

Stone, 26, broke out last season with 36 points (six goals, 30 assists) including 14 power play assists. That performance helped him earn a new $4 million contract for this season, but Stone has struggled to match that production.

Part of the reason is that Stone missed the first few weeks of the season recovering from surgery to repair ACL and MCL damage suffered last April. The other is that Stone has fallen down the depth chart behind summer acquisitions Alex Goligoski and Luke Schenn, as well as emerging youngsters Jakob Chychrun and Anthony DeAngelo. DeAngelo was recently returned to the minors, paving the way to more playing time for Stone, but DeAngelo is clearly a big part of the Coyotes’ future.

For some more background on Stone, I sent a few questions to Brendan Porter of Five For Howling:

Q: How has Stone’s recovery been from surgery?

A: Stone has recovered well since ACL/MCL surgery; he doesn’t look like he’s lost too much from where he was pre-injury. His fall down the depth chart is less about his health and more about the acquisition of Schenn and the early-season play of DeAngelo. With those two in the lineup, and with some unrelated injury problems in the season’s early goings, Stone has been on the outside looking in.

Q: What’s your opinion of Stone’s career arc at this point?

A: I think Stone is a third-pairing defenseman who can play both special teams and on the second pairing in a pinch. He benefited from being the go-to guy outside of Oliver Ekman-Larsson in Arizona’s system, but that role has largely seemed to elude him with Schenn and DeAngelo on the right and Chychrun on the left.

Q: What are his strengths and weaknesses?

A: Stone is absolutely fearless; he’ll pinch in the offensive zone and block shots in the defensive zone with reckless abandon. It makes him a minute-eating machine and highly versatile defenseman, but also comes with all of the requisite risks. Still, he’s a defenseman more in the mold of the modern NHL than other bottom-half defensemen.

Q: Are you of the opinion that Arizona won’t re-sign Stone and will look to deal him? If so, what would you expect for a return?

A: I think the writing is now on the wall that Stone is on his way out. The Coyotes and Stone nearly went the distance on salary arbitration last offseason, and struck a one-year, $4 million deal to avoid it. And with the emergence of Chychrun on the left side and Kyle Wood’s solid season in the AHL on the right side, I think the Coyotes are comfortable letting Stone go at the deadline or in the offseason.

At the end of the day, Stone is 26, 6′ 3″, and about 205 pounds. He’s a right-handed defenseman with a track record of producing points. Given Arizona has no 2nd rounders in 2018 and New York has two, Stone for a 2018 second would be a nice trade for the Coyotes. I think a second and/or third-rounder is what he eventually goes for, but given how much the Stars paid for Kris Russell just a season ago, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Stone went for more than one or two draft picks.

Big thanks to Brendan for the help with this post – be sure to check out his site!

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  • Would cost way too much for what he brings. His Rel stats this season are atrocious, they look fine over a 2-3 year period tho, he’s also pretty bad at moving the puck, i don’t like this at all.

    Personally i don’t think we should go after rentals at all this season, rather we stay put or even sell off some assets. But if we have to go after a rental, make it someone like Franson who is better then Stone, probably cheaper to acquire and who fills a need (Pretty good on the PP and can move the puck well).

    • I’m actually eyeing John Klingberg from the Stars but regardless, they need a Right-handed defenseman. I don’t know as much about this Michael Stone but from what I do know he seems to fit the bill but at this point, even an average defenseman would fit the bill wonderfully and look like a star on this Rangers blueline, its sad but true.

      • And I agree with you completely regarding rentals, that’s not whats going to fix this hole we have on defense. Klingberg would obviously cost more than Franson or Stone but he’d be a huge addition for years to come if they can in fact acquire him.

  • What does this do for our overall 6 man unit? Who plays next to McDonagh? Who gets bumped to the pressbox?

    When Staal is healthy, Clendenning goes away. If Stone is acquired does Klein go away?

    I’m not sure the 2nd rounder is worth the cost for any stabilization Stone may/may not bring with him to our back end.

    • Player is more important than team. You seem to like writing off any trade target if his club is below .500. Unfortunately, the conundrum you may find yourself in is that the crappy teams are the most willing to deal.

        • I’d prefer John Klingberg from the Stars over Stone. they need a Right-handed defenseman and even though an average D-man would look like a star on this Rangers blueline, they shouldn’t waste their time on quick fixes (average/rental players). If trade, trade for someone who will be solid and reliable for years to come. John Klingberg would do wonders for our first line. Hes a right-handed puck-moving defenseman, and hes actually good. He’ll cost more than a Franson or Stone would but he’d be well worth it

  • I wouldn’t trade a second for this guy. We need to have cap-room to sign Shattenkirk. This team is not winning the cup this year, so why give up more picks? We wait, get Shatty, use this year as a step toward future success.

    • Ah 43 the voice of both reality and reason. PLEASE lets NOT give up any assets. We are NOT winning the Cup this season!

    • Hmmm – Many say we aren’t going anywhere this season. Might be true. BUT (Cup half full guy) Aanti comes back, offense scores 4 a night, Staal returns and lets say we still need another defenseman other than Clendening. Stone over Klein is not such a bad trade-off, even for a 2nd round pick.

      I still think a hot goalie in the playoffs can take you far. A bad defense will be exposed, yea I know.

      • Antti is not going to be the guy who wins us a cup.

        I agree with you on ANYTHING being possible. Look at the Pens last year. Trade for Hagelin, trade for Daley, replace coach…… 180 degree turnaround. So, yeah, let’s not close the book on this season just yet. But I still believe that if we win a cup in the near future it will be on Lundqvist’s shoulders. not Raanta’s.

        • Probably true, but Hank has no confidence right now. I think he needs to go back to Sweden and eat some herring paste and just relax for a week. Maybe he is about to go through a divorce. You never know.

          • He’s been fighting the puck since mid-November. There’s no need to panic now(plenty of time to do that later,) but the countdown clock is now armed.

            Hank has until Feb. 1 to get it fixed otherwise he needs to rotate until the deadline. A week after that, best goalie plays the rest of the way.

    • I agree with you. This won’t move the needle. If the Coyotes would take Klein for Stone straight up done. But I don’t see that happening. And I would not give up much to get this guy. Wait For Shattenkirk in the off season and go from there. But they also need Girardi and Klein out. They take up cap and ice space.

  • Unfortunately, this team is not going to win a cup. No band-aid solution is viable.You have to give something to get something. One or two of our top nine have to go. We have to give salary to get salary. Another impediment is the upcoming expansion draft where we can’t even expose Girardi or Staal. Gorton knows this and will have to be a magician to make something work. Could we expose Hank in the draft for cap relief? Even if he doesn’t get picked, we will not have to expose Raanta.

    • You can ask both D to waive their NTC/NMC for expansion purposes only, as nobody is touching them with a 10′ pole unless a bunch of picks come with them.

  • Couple of things.
    1. This team will be very lucky to get past the first round in the playoffs. This talk
    about winning the Cup with a trade or two requires a stay in a padded room
    with much medication.
    2. The quality of this defense has been beaten to death, so I will not add fuel
    to the fire. However, next year they will need quality at numbers 3,4,5 and 6
    defensive positions. Please, don’t give away draft picks.
    3. Team speed has been over rated. Grabner is the only one who can put
    space between himself and chasing players. Stepan is a step behind everyone except for, Buchnevich who is two steps behind. He is the poor man’s Steve Vickers.[ Ask your father] Check the Maple Leafs to get an idea of what team speed is all about. They are the future of the NHL.
    4.This team has no franchise player [Crosby, Stamkos, Kane, Laine, Matthews] almost
    required to win a Cup. What will be required of you is patience, lots of patience and then more patience.

    Cub fans reached the promised land this past year and they will never enjoy
    the same ride again. So enjoy the journey and remember, PATIENCE.

    • Draft picks don’t rebuild the D next year.

      Buchnevich can skate, just uses it sparingly to create time and space instead of skating like a headless chicken. He has 4 pts less than Hagelin in 30 fewer games.

    • In his coaching career I challenge anyone to point to one defenseman drafted by an organization that AV was a part of, that he developed into even a good NHL defenseman. Just one.

      AV is great developing young forwards. I 100% agree that offense and everything around it is his calling. However drafting young defenseman with this man at the helm is not going to fix anything.

      Vancouver drafted Tanev (sp?). He struggles for two seasons under AV while Vancouver leaned on aging veteran defenseman. He came to us, Coaching staff changed in Vancouver and Tanev exploded.

      Speed? The Rangers didn’t just lose their speed in mid-November. It wasn’t that everyone “woke up” and a demon took their “speed”. We look slow all of a sudden because teams have countered the transition game of the Rangers and have taken away the outlet passes. We’ve been unable, or unwilling to adapt our offense. People who like AV will say unable. People who dislike AV will say unwilling.

      • Drafting is on the GM and scouts not the coach. Developing and deploying is on the coach, however that is much easier on a rebuild team then a playoff team. While AV has faults cant blame him if his team drafts a bobby sanguinetti and not turning him into Leetch. I dont think hes doing a bad job with Skjei. Development is also on the player if they wanna have a Johnny Football attitude, no coach can do anything about it.

        I agree hes stubborn to not change his systems or use his timeouts. Yes teams have adjusted to the Rangers game, but in November the team did lose their speed, with having 3 top 6 forwards go down. I would like to see mid game adjustments based on what their getting beat by but hes too stubborn of the fact of play are game better and it wont happen.

        • Skjei is actually regressing before our eyes. His mistakes are getting worse and more egregious with each passing game. I didn’t expect him to be Sergei Zubov this year but I also didn’t expect Dan Girardi snow angels either. His best run(s) so far this year where his game steadied and showed improvement was away from, dum dum dum…Klein and Girardi. He’s been in a downward free fall since being paired with Girardi in Az and Col. Poor decision making, turnovers etc. He’s not that young anymore, so I wouldn’t be akin to selling high on him. I get defenseman take longer to develop, but he needs a huge rebound right now. Honestly it might do him some good to play on the right side with McD.

          And I’m not asking if AV has turned anyone into Leetch or Orr or Coffey. In all of his coaching stops I have not found one young defenseman who was around AV for a period of time that has turned into even an adequate NHL defenseman. Every stop he’s ever made, he has played older defenseman over younger defenseman. Ironically if this sounds familiar, in Vancouver he played, or gave way more ice time to a broken Ohland and concussion prone Willie Mitchell over others.

          • how history repeats itself, Mitchell hurt, plays, Girardi knee issues, plays, this guy is brain dead at best!!!!!!!

    • 1 Cup in 76 years, but patience. Sarcasm?
      Realize this team is not parading down Bway but it is closer to the top than the bottom. Have to be sellers to relieve cap space which probably won’t happen with expansion coming.
      Butch is better away from the puck and is top 10 in the whole league in pts/60 TOI – this guy is a steal in less than 20 games.
      Stone is not the answer, but what is the real question? Should NYR be buying or selling? In order to draft a Franchise player need to completely tank (see Azzlanders 2017)

    • To be honest, it is the original sin of AV.

      It limited the return they could’ve gotten, limited the flexibility the team had going forward, prevented an easy replacement that knew the system.

      In a hard cap environment developing talent is part of the gig. The GM needed to spell this out to the coach and if the coach ain’t on board? Buhbye.

      If that’s not what AB signed up for, though. He can go sleep on his bed of money from his severance.

    • yes, before Stone but doesn’t really matter unless Henk finds his mojo. Righty with PP skills that is OK Dman; can play RD2.

  • I have no interest in sideways moves. I want a first pair guy or nothing. I prefer a young one that means giving up assets, a young forward a first round pick and prospect. No interest in giving up Skjei, have to deal from our strength no weakness.

    While I prefer a young player over Shattenkirk, I wouldnt be against offering no more than a Klein and a first for him. I know why give up anything for a guy who wants to come here in the offseason any way but there are two reasons, one minor and one major. Minor reason it guarentees Klein off the books for next season, 2.9 towards the cap is good.

    The major reason, make sure he fits here. Fits with Mcdonagh, fits with AV, can handle the pressure of playing first pair minutes/assignments (has played behind petroangelo his whole career) and the pressure of playing in NYC. I am willing to give up a first round pick for that. The last thing I want is to sign a 7 year 6+ NMC (you know hes getting one atleast for some of the years) contract for a 28 year old who may not work. No forwards, no prospects, no conditional picks on playoff distance or resigning. One offer take it or leave it, unless they say just the first no klein.

    • If anyone wants a contract with more years than 4, every team should move on, these contracts are ruining the game. I don’t want another 5+ year contract on the Rangers ever again. NMC and 5+ year contracts should be outlawed in the next CBA. I’m willing to lose a year of hockey in a lockout for this to happen. They are just ruining hockey!

      • The problem is 2 sided, if I draft a Crosby/Ovi/Mcdavid I want to be able to lock them up long term. Although every 27/28 year old free agent demands 7 years cause thats the limit and some type of no move.

        I wouldnt mind allowing the opt out or renegotiation but im sure the players wouldnt as well as the poor teams with the nhls false sense of parity. If that was the case the money market teams would buy the 27/28 year olds and dumb them at 33/34 for the younger guy. Atleast now they are some what punished trying to do that with buyout penalties or giving up an asset to take a now bad contract.

        Unfortunately with the current state longer term ntc nmc are all bargaining chips with overall dollars to any decent player.

      • I have no problem giving a 23 yr old Kreider a 6-7 yr deal.

        I have a serious problem w/ giving a 30 yr old Hank or a 28 yr Girardi a 5 yr deal.

      • Lemme see if I have this straight, looking at it from an objective NHL fan not a NYR fan.

        You want the owners to lock the players out again and lose a year of hockey, to ban 5+ year NMC/NTC clause contracts that the owners are offering to the players?

        If management doesn’t offer 5+ year NMC/NTC contracts the players can’t accept them.

        If your boss came to you right now and said look “JoeS, you’re a great “warrior” you leave it all on the line here at “x”. I’m willing to give you a contract to work here for 7 years with no chance of being moved to an office location outside of this town (or only to an office location that you tell me you’d be ok with) and no possibility of ever being demoted no matter how bad you do.” You’d say no?

        • No I absolutely would not say “no”. The management/owners are part of the problem, if not THE problem. If you make it impossible for them, via the CBA, to give long term deals and NMC/NTC, well, then they can not do it.

  • DO NOT DO NOT give up ANY picks. This team is and has been devoid of a future as year after year it was mortgaged. It will take a Plan;execution of the plan and coaching to develop it. I trust Gorton. I have confidence in him and what he will do with more time. I have less confidence in AV. I lived in Vancouver when he was there. I saw what AV did not get done in Vancouver with a killer roster. It leaves me very concerned for those of us who don’t have 3o more years before another cup is in NY.

    • I still live in Vancouver and the Rangers are better off keeping their draft picks and blue chip players and letting AV go. Bring in Gerard Gallant, him and Buek will bring some ole time hockey back to MSG.

    • Agree with never giving up the future #1’s, when will we ever learn?

      Teams build long term, develop players, and win championships thru the draft. Look at the Wings, drafted at the bottom for years, still won how many cups, without really any true super stars. Sorry, stop the madness with the giving away picks, it’s a new NHL, we can’t buy our cups!!!!!!!!!!

  • The fact is, the Rangers are hamstrung with these bad D contracts. I say rather than panic, let’s see what this team can do come playoff time, with the notion that it probably will not be a Cup win. However, you just never know, so let’s all hope and support the team. Really, the only way out of this, is to bide our time. Let’s sign a D man off season and keep our awesome forwards! The Rangers will win another Cup, maybe not this year, but soon if they don’t panic and make stupid trades. Stay the course with Gorton.

      • You guys are idiots. They gotta trade Lundqvist NOW, I don’t care if its for a can of beans. His contract spells eventual doom, Aare Stoudemire all over again. dopehead Glen Sather signed him for too many years, and too much money.

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