The Calgary Flames were able to prevent defenseman Michael Stone from hitting the free agent market on Friday afternoon by agreeing to terms on a three-year contract that will pay him $3.5 million per season, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
Stone, acquired by the Flames before the 2017 trade deadline, appeared in 19 games with the team last season, scoring two goals and adding four assists. Prior to his time with the Flames he had spent all of his career with the Arizona Coyotes.
By re-signing Stone the Flames will also have to surrender their fifth-round draft pick in 2018 to Arizona. That pick was a conditional pick as part of the trade and would only be sent to Arizona if Stone remained in Calgary.
With Calgary’s top-four on defense completely set following the addition of Travis Hamonic from the New York Islanders, Stone will likely only be at best the No. 5 defenseman on its roster, which is probably the sort of role he is best suited for. Still, that is an expensive price tag for a third-pairing defenseman especially as the Flames work to fill out the remainder of their roster. According to CapFriendly, they have just under $10 million in cap space remaining with 17 players under contract for this season. Forwards Curtis Lazar, Sam Bennett and Michael Ferland remained unsigned as restricted free agents.
But along with Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, Dougie Hamilton and Hamonic the Flames have pieced together a blue line that should be among the best in the Western Conference. A lot of their success will be dependent on how well their newly formed goaltending duo of Mike Smith and Eddie Lack can perform in net.