It has been a few years since they played together but Chad Johnson distinctly remembers what defenceman Michael Stone brings to the table.
"I played with him in Portland, in Phoenix's minor league system. He's a great skater, has a big shot, a big defenceman, and he's a real smart player as well," Johnson told CalgaryFlames.com. "I think he's pretty underrated over there in Phoenix. He's had some injuries there and he's kind of getting himself back ... he's a great addition.
"He's a guy that's willing to pay the price. He's been in a pretty well-structured and defensive-minded team there in Phoenix as well so to bring that to this team is big for us and it's well-needed, especially down the stretch."
The Flames acquired Stone from the Arizona Coyotes on Monday afternoon, sending a 2017 third round pick and a conditional 2018 fifth round pick to the desert. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound blueliner is slated to meet the team in Nashville but head coach Glen Gulutzan is still mulling over his roster ahead of Tuesday's game against the Predators.
"I'm not even sure of his travel plans yet ... we'll get him at practice tomorrow. I don't know if we'll see him in the lineup.
"There's a few things we have to go over with him, especially with a defenceman - just like with (Bartkowski) - to go over a few things and then we'll get him in. But to have a guy that's played, and has played top minutes at times and he's put up points, it's a good acquisition for us."
In 45 games this season, Stone has averaged 20:13 per game, a total that ranks him third amongst Coyotes skaters and fourth amongst Flames players. He has been a regular in Arizona's top-four rotation and has chipped in with nine points this year. Stone also has been an asset on the Coyotes' powerplay, picking up five of his points with the man advantage.
"He was a top-two pairing a couple years ago, with Oliver Ekman-Larsson," Johnson recalled. "He logged a lot of minutes, blocked shots and played in key moments there ... he's a little bit underrated, a bit underappreciated there and it's going to be a good addition for us. He's going to play a lot of minutes and at key times for us."
Looking over Stone's resume, Gulutzan is still working out where he will slot in on the Flames' blueline but is confident the right-shot rearguard has the versatility to slide in with any partner.
"I know he's got a great big shot. I know he's a defender that doesn't make a lot of mistakes. He's a big guy. He's a guy who can give you some stability back there, play against the big teams," Gulutzan noted.
"The one thing that you do know and it probably jumps out at everyone is that he has played with those mobile, top guys. Wherever that goes for us here, we'll decide in the next couple days ... to get a quality guy like that at this time of year is a boost for your hockey club."