Stone impresses Oil with size, smarts

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:35 PM ET

EDMONTON -- Ryan Stone made the most of his first impression.

His second wasn't bad either.

Coming into camp the 6-foot-2, 199-lb. winger was so far down the depth chart, he was merely an afterthought. But after being arguably the best player on the ice in the pre-season opener against the Calgary Flames and having another strong outing last night in a win over the Florida Panthers, the Calgary-born Stone is starting to garner some attention.

"You're very open-minded early on because you know there are habits that are in there, that two days of coaching aren't going to change and you want to see what those habits are and with Stone they were good habits," said Oilers head coach Pat Quinn prior to last night's game. "He knows how to work hard and in the game he's going to compete, and those are a couple of things that I liked from him. I was looking for a couple of things: Individual skill levels, how you think out there because you can draw Xs and Os all night long. It's the guys that figure things out that become good players."

For a team loaded with small, quick forwards, Stone's size could be a commodity.

He started last night's exhibition game on the top line with Mike Comrie and Steve Sullivan.

Stone set up Taylor Chorney's goal in the second period, then picked up another assist on Comrie's goal. He also ran over as many opponents as possible.

"The first game in Calgary I thought I played pretty well, but then again, it's easy to play well with the linemates I'm skating with now," Stone said.

Originally selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Stone came to the Oilers in a trade for goalie Mathieu Garon last season.

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos