Despite adding defense, the Edmonton Oilers are struggling, especially when it comes to surrendering goals at critical times.
With this in mind, the Oilers still need a puck-moving, complete defenseman on the right side. Matthew Benning is having a great stint as a rookie, but is still young and learning. Eric Gryba, though a veteran, is also slowing down at times.
Given Kris Russell’s left-handed ability, s well as Brandon Davidson’s proneness to injury, the Oilers should look into backup plans. And one of them could revolve around right-handed defenseman Michael Stone.
According to “Edmonton Journal” reporter Jim Matheson, the Coyotes blueliner is available. Stone is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, so this likely means that Arizona does not plan to extend his contract.
With a top-four, offensive right-handed defenseman available at the Oilers’ disposal, should they make a move? I believe so.
First off, the Oilers are still missing a surefire scoring defenseman. Oscar Klefbom can rip it from the point, but he is not a constant scorer or puck-mover. While Adam Larsson possesses a great shot, he rarely makes use of it, and is more of a stay-at-home guy who looks after the puck.
Stone is more of the offensive type of defenseman who gets the puck moving and can start the breakout from the defensive zone.
“Has ideal National Hockey League size and displays an all-around game from the back end. Also owns a very good point shot. Can also be a physical force.” – The Hockey News
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound blueliner possesses great size and strength, and throws hundreds of hits during the regular season. Not to mention, he has blocked over 100 shots for three straight seasons and has been excellent on the back check. Stone also put up a career high 36 points (six goals, 30 assists) in 2015-16.
There is no reason the Oilers should not at least look into this inquiry. Stone would be an asset to have, and given he’s going to be a UFA, the Oilers won’t have to spend too much for him. In the end, it can be a great investment opportunity, especially if he’s willing to re-sign.If so, Edmonton shouldn’t shy away from a top-four defender offensive upside.