Hands of Oilers' Stone living up to name

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:19 AM ET

EDMONTON — Ryan Stone doesn’t need a stat sheet to see it. He doesn’t have to be reminded of it.

And he certainly won’t get anywhere fretting over it.

The more Stone worries, the less likely the Edmonton Oilers forward is to get on the scoreboard.

“It’s going to come eventually,” said Stone. “But I’ve been thinking about it a lot, especially since coming back from my knee injury. This has been the longest I’ve gone without scoring a goal since I’ve started playing hockey.

“I’m getting chances, so I’m not overly worried about it, but it would feel great to get one.”

Stone is one of three Oilers who have yet to score a goal this season. Defencemen Steve Staios and Jason Strudwick have not found the net either.

“We don’t have a bet going, but that might be a good idea,” smiled Stone. “But I can’t worry about it. I’m the type of guy that if I worry about things too much, I tend to play worse.

“I just have to go out and try to play my game. I’ve done it for however long now and I’ve been able to score goals in the past.”

Stone, 24, does know where the net is, he just hasn’t been able to find it at the NHL level.

The Calgary, native scored 33 goals in his final year of junior with the Brandon Wheat Kings. He then tallied 14 in his first year in the AHL with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

He had eight goals in 39 games with the Springfield Falcons last season.

“I think Ryan takes an awful lot of pride in his work and he knows what he is here to do in our organization at this stage in his career,” said Oilers associate coach Tom Renney. “Naturally we’ll need him to contribute at some point and time. If you don’t have that secondary scoring beyond your second line, teams are going to have some real difficulty and there are a lot of teams in the league that are experiencing that.

“We don’t only need help from him, but from others in the lineup that are in a little bit of a drought.”

Originally drafted in the second round – 32 overall – by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Stone was acquired by the Oilers a year ago along with defenceman Dany Sabourin and a fourth-round pick for goaltender Mathieu Garon.

During his time in the Penguins organization, the six-foot-two, 207-pound winger played a total of eight games for the big club over two seasons, recording an assist. This year he has six assists in 25 games for the Oilers.

“He’s a smart player, with good hockey sense, he’s a good two-way guy,” Renney said. “He’s more responsible defensively and it’s easier for him to lock into that type of role then maybe offensively. But having watched him with the Brandon Wheat Kings, I thought he could be a real good third or fourth line player that can contribute offensively.”

A surprise at training camp, Stone was able to earn a roster spot due mainly to his physical play. The Oilers were in the market for players who could stir the pot and he fit the bill.

However, a knee injury disrupted his season, forcing him to miss 19 games.

“The knee feels alright, it’s not where it was at the start of the year, but you still have to go out and play,” Stone said. “When I’m playing I don’t think about it at all. But I don’t think I’m as quick as I was at the start of the year because of the injury. But it’s like the goal, you can’t worry about it too much, because that can affect your play.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca


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