Michael Stone was drafted by the Arizona Coyotes 69th overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Level Draft. Third rounders are not typically expected to see NHL action right away and the Coyotes were patient with developing Stone, allowing him to spend two years in WHL with the Calgary Hitmen and a full season in the AHL with the San Antonio Rampage before he saw NHL ice.
After splitting the last three seasons between the NHL and AHL, Stone played his first full season with the Coyotes last year. Appearing in 70 games, he finished with eight goals and 21 points, while largely being a third pairing defenseman. That makes Stone the Coyotes third best offensive defenseman, behind Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
Stone played on both the second unit penalty kill and power play last season, averaging 1:30 short handed time on ice per game and 1:16 power play time on ice per game. He had a pair power play goals and four power play assists and was the only Coyotes defenseman to have a shorthanded assist last year.
The consensus among many Coyotes fans was that Stone was being groomed to replace Derek Morris and skate next to Yandle. However, last season Connor Murphy was brought up for a few games and was paired with Yandle and many people thought it was a solid pairing. Rookies like Murphy and Brandon Gormley getting more NHL time makes it harder to predict if Stone will crack the top-4 on the blueline. Stone will battle Murphy for that second pairing RD spot in training camp.