Calgary Flames to buyout Michael Stone
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The Calgary Flames have placed defenseman Michael Stone on waivers for the purpose of a buyout.
Once complete, the cap-strapped Flames will clear ~$2.33 million off their books this season. That will leave the team a hair over $7 million in space with Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane still in need of new contracts. Not enough money to get things done, of course, but dumping Stone is another big step towards getting there.
While this is not a fun path to take – the Flames still get hit with $1.16M in dead money in 2019-20 and 2020-21 – I think it's the right one. The Flames were in desperate need of the savings, and Stone was providing absolutely no value to the team.
The playoffs left a bitter taste in everyone's mouth but I think most can appreciate how dominant the Flames were for the majority of the regular season. Despite that, Stone somehow posted a 41.63 xGF% and 47.06 GF% at 5v5. He was a massive anchor when he was healthy.
That's nothing new, though. It was the case for the entirety of his Flames career.
What's particularly interesting about Stone is the trait he's supposed to excel at – playing steady defense – is also an issue.
From 2016-19, 16 defenders logged at least 300 minutes at 5v5 for the Flames. Stone ranked 15th in attempts against/60, and 13th in expected goals against/60.
So he didn't produce any offense, he didn't help drive play, and he wasn't good at limiting the shots and chances other teams generated – even while mostly playing a 3rd pairing role against depth players.
The Flames are clearly a better team when he is not on the ice, and they're saving a good chunk of money by ensuring he won't suit up for them again.
This is the right move.
numbers via naturalstattrick.com and capfriendly.com
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