The Ducks have signed defenseman Clayton Stoner to a four-year contract through the 2017-18 NHL season. Per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Stoner, 29 (2/19/85), has scored 4-27=31 points with a +3 rating and 296 penalty minutes (PIM) in 227 career NHL games with Minnesota. He led team defensemen in hits (99) and led the club overall in PIM (84) last season, while collecting 1-4=5 points in 63 games. He played all 13 postseason games with Minnesota, picking up a career-high 1-2=3 points with a +2 rating and 26 PIM.
Selected by Minnesota in the third round (79th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Stoner averaged a career-best 18:12 time-on-ice (TOI) and established a career high in assists (10) in 2012-13. That season, he set a franchise record for defensemen with a +5 rating on Mar. 25, 2013 at Dallas. The 6-4, 216-pound defenseman has appeared in 14 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, earning 1-3=4 points with a +3 rating and 26 PIM.
Stoner held a conference call with reporters shortly after being signed by the Ducks. Below are his comments:
On the negotiating process
"Anaheim made it known they were looking for more size. They like physical defensemen on the backend. My agent was pushing for Anaheim, too. When they were talking terms, it was either three or four years. I wanted four years, and they were willing. That was a big part of my decision. What the club has done in the past few years was something I was really looking forward to and trying to help."
On his impressions of Anaheim
"As a player on a different team, you always look at Anaheim as being a beautiful place to live. But at the same time, it’s amazing what they’ve done as an organization. A lot of times, the warmer climates aren’t big hockey meccas, and sometimes the teams aren’t as good, but Anaheim goes completely against that. They won a Cup fairly recently and had a chance here in the past few years. My goal is to come in play a physical style and try to be a steady, stay-at-home defenseman who can be reliable and be counted on in key situations.
"You’ll probably see me drop the gloves a few times to stick up for my teammates. I’ll just try to be a steady guy. Nothing too flashy, but contribute in all areas if I can."
On if it was difficult leaving Minnesota
"It’s pretty crazy to think it’s been 10 years. I was drafted in 2004 in Minnesota and spent four and a half years in the minors. You develop a relationship with the organization, but I felt like it was time for a change. It’s a better move for me to go to a team like Anaheim where I’m needed more and relied upon. A chance to win the Stanley Cup is exciting for me. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with Minnesota, but my opportunity was running out. They wanted to sign me back, but I felt like there was more opportunity in Anaheim."
On if he had offers from other teams
"There were quite a few teams interested, but not all had time to make offers because I thought this deal was good for everybody. Florida was one team, and so were Calgary, Arizona, Colorado and Montreal. With a lot of those teams we didn’t go down that route to make an offer because, by the time free agency opened, I already had my mind made up. I haven’t even spoken with my agent about who he talked to, or what kind of offers came in. As of 11:05, my mind was made up and the deal was done. It was done very quickly."
On if he knows anyone on the Ducks
"I know Tim Jackman. He skates with me here in Minnesota. I know Nate Thompson, who also lives here in Minnesota. There are quite a few pros here, so it’s cool that we get to touch base. But other than that, I don’t know anyone personally. I know Ryan Getzlaf from playing against him in the Western Hockey League. It’ll be fun to meet some new guys."
On his impressions of Bruce Boudreau
"It’ll be fun to get to know him. The thing the players in the league always go by is somebody’s reputation. It’s such a small community in the NHL. You always talk to players on different teams all the time throughout the summer. I haven’t heard a bad comment about him. That’s kind of rare for a coach. Normally that’s the first guy you’re usually bashing, but not with Bruce. He seems like he gets it and understands players very well. He seems like he has a good feel for where the players are at. I’m looking forward to meeting him. I think he’s going to give me a call in the next couple of days. It’ll be good to touch base about a couple systems things, as well."
On where he thinks he can take his game
"Being in the lineup is always great. I had a good playoffs and the team played well. It was a fun time of year. It would’ve been nice to beat Chicago, but it didn’t happen. That was a great learning experience. Any time you can get some NHL playoff games under your belt, it’s good experience. It makes you learn a lot. I felt I learned a lot this year. Hopefully I can just keep getting better. I wouldn’t say I’m a late bloomer, but sometimes defensemen take a little more time. I feel like I’m still getting better. I’m 29 right now, so hopefully the next few years here in Anaheim are my best years of my career."