If there’s one spot that we know the Phoenix Coyotes are better off at than most teams in the league, it’s on their blue line. The Coyotes boast one of the deeper defensive corps in the league, with some star power, mixed with solid veteran depth, and some youngsters as well.
One of those youngsters is that of Michael Stone, who finally made his long awaited impact with the Coyotes last season, his first full year at this level. The former third round pick was prone to struggles early on, but eventually climbed out of them to finish strong and establish himself as a regular on the Phoenix blue line.
Stone finished the year with nine points, including five goals. Of those nine points, five came in the season’s final 11 games, including two of the goals, as well as a plus-5 rating. He played in 40 games total on the season, finishing with a plus-2 rating, and providing a physical presence along the blue line.
With a solid skill set, Stone has the potential to be a key tw0-way forward for this team. He’s an intelligent defender, making him an asset in the defensive zone, while also flashing an ability to move the puck. Add in the size, and you have a guy that is not only a physical presence in the lineup, but a big shot from the point as well.
His success towards the end of last year should mean more playing time for Stone this year, and in more situations. He’s the type of player that the Coyotes know they can throw out on the penalty kill, as that physical style and shot blocking ability make him an asset. His improving game is going to be one worth keeping an eye on as the season gets underway for the Coyotes.