It is not very often that you can say that a 3rd round pick dramatically bolsters a line-up, but he has. He has showed his worth on and off the ice, but what will 2015-2016 bring?
Michael Stone was the Phoenix Coyotes 3rd round pick in 2008, and has played key minutes on defense for the team since 2012. Stone was born and raised in Canada with a brother, Mark Stone, who currently plays for the Ottawa Senators.
Prior to being drafted Michael Stone played with the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL. He had ten goals with 25 assists, a career high in 2007-2008. After the draft Stone continued playing with the Hitmen, playing in 69 games. Stone posted 19 goals and 42 assists during the 2008-2009 season with a +43 plus/minus. The following season would be Stone’s last with the Hitmen, when he posted 21 goals and 44 assists.
Stone signed an entry-level contract with the Coyotes prior to the 2010-2011 season, playing his first year with the Coyotes affiliate, San Antonio Rampage. In his first year as a pro he played in 70 of 80 games, with two goals and 11 assists. When the Coyotes switched affiliates in 2011, Stone followed playing in 51 games with the Portland Pirates, scoring nine goals and assisting on another 13.
Oct 10, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (41) receives congratulations from defenseman Michael Stone (26) after the game against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Phoenix won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
In February 2012 Stone made his NHL debut, and played in 13 games with the Coyotes scoring only once with two assists. He helped the team in two games during the playoffs; both appearances came in the team’s series against the Los Angeles Kings. Stone returned to the AHL in 2012-2013, playing in 36 games with the Pirates. While with Portland, he scored six goals and had 22 assists. Stone was recalled to the Coyotes, where he played in 40 games. He scored five goals and four assists. For Stone one of his best seasons came in 2013-2014, where he played in 70 games scoring eight goals and 13 assists.
Last season was rough for the whole team, and Stone had a pretty average year. He played in 81 games, scoring three goals and 15 assists. As the team approaches the 2015-2016 season, Stone is looking to be paired with a top-tier defenseman.
Nov 2, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals right wing Troy Brouwer (20) blocks the shot of Arizona Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone (26) in front of Capitals goalie Justin Peters (35) in the second period at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Stone is not only a great player on the ice he an activist in the community. Throughout the year some Coyotes players do things within the community, and Stone is always there. From shopping for homeless children, or building a playground, or visiting children at Phoenix Children’s hospital, he is always doing something for the community of Arizona. Sorry ladies, during the offseason Stone got married, and now he is officially off the market! With a new purpose off the ice, Stone is poised to have a great year.
Mixed with talented youth and experienced veterans, Stone is ready to thrive in the Coyotes’ system. He can play on both the power play and the penalty kill, and has shown a knack making the tough shots go for goals. Don’t be surprised if Stone has at least ten goals and 20 assists. With the loss of Keith Yandle, Stone will have the opportunity to step up and be better.