Over the course of the next month, Konopkaesque will review each player who suited up for the Wild this season, with a few exceptions. 1) They had to play at least ten games during the season and/or playoffs (sorry, Brett Bulmer, Carson McMillan and John Curry) and 2) they had to finish the season as part of the organization, which ironically excludes the man for whom this blog is named, among others.
So, without further blathering, here’s today’s subject:
Clayton Stoner, D, Age 29
Remaining contract (per capgeek):UFA in 2014
Games: 63 (Regular Season) 13 (Playoffs)
Goals: 1 (Regular Season) 1 (Playoffs)
Assists: 4 (Regular Season) 2 (Playoffs)
+/-: -6 (Regular Season) +2 (Playoffs)
PIM: 84 (Regular Season) 26 (Playoffs)
ATOI: 13:19 (Regular Season) 12:16 (Playoffs)
What Did He Do?: Imagine the Wild without Stoner for the months of January and February. It’s not a pretty picture. Third line agitators slapping around Jason Pominville and stealing Mikko Koivu’s stick (and presumably scoring goals with it). Fourth-line future bricklayers taking Mikael Granlund’s lunch money and not to mention the wedgies. Oh, the wedgies. Nate Prosser forced to fight heavyweights. Nate Prosser in traction. Nate Prosser’s funeral scheduled for mid-February. The entire team gets hypothermia and the Phoenix Coyotes make the playoffs. I’ve thought a lot about this.
Love Stoner or hate him, he was very important to the Wild this season, specifically for the two-month, post-Konopka (sigh) stretch, where he willingly served as the team’s only tough guy. Stoner warriored on for the Wild, playing through mangled hands, etc. Even the one goal he scored nearly killed him.
In the playoffs, Stoner was one of the most effective Wild players, particularly against Chicago, where he seemed to troll an entire city. This hit helped:
He also nearly matched his season point total in the playoffs, scoring as many points as Matt Moulson. Yep, that’s a fluke, but it has to be said.
What to Expect if You’re Expecting: Up in the air. Stoner is a free agent, and it is decision time for Chuck Fletcher regarding Stoner, Prosser, Jonathan Blum, and even Keith Ballard, though Ballard has a year left on his contract. Christian Folin and Matt Dumba will be pushing for time behind the four established D-men for the Wild (Scandella, Brodin, Spurgeon, and Iron Suter), and of course outside help via free agency and trades is still an option. If the Wild don’t change their current crop of defensemen, Stoner should get serious consideration for a return. For minimal investment, he brings a physical edge that none of the other defensemen bring. Scandella is the only other rearguard that could be described as remotely a “hitter.” It could go either way for Stoner, and it will likely depend on what Chuck Fletcher can find in terms of an upgrade.
Trade Prospects?: Late round draft pick (and I mean late) for rights kind of thing. Don’t count on it.
Season Highlight: Stoner’s aforementioned lone goal of the season. Nice move, horrible landing: