DALLAS - It's been a long road back.
From an unbearable wait on the sidelines, missing 42 games in all thanks to a blood clot last year, to being healthy, but sitting out the first three of the new campaign, Michael Stone is ready to put it all behind him and begin a new chapter tonight in The Big D.
Stone will make his long-awaited regular-season debut tonight as the Flames kick off a three-game road trip in Dallas to face the Stars (TV: Sportsnet 360; Radio: Sportsnet960 THE FAN).
Stone, who appeared in only 15 of the Flames' 87 games last year (including the playoffs), will skate alongside TJ Brodie on the third defensive pair tonight.
Rasmus Andersson, meanwhile, has been promoted to the top unit and will log big minutes alongside the captain, Mark Giordano.
The forward lines remain unchanged from Wednesday's practice in Calgary, with one notable mod taking effect following Tuesday's loss to the LA Kings: Andrew Mangiapane will move up to play on the second line with Mikael Backlund and Matthew Tkachuk.
David Rittich will get the start in goal as he looks to improve on his 1-1-1 record, his .924 save percentage and a 2.68 goals-against average.
Here are the forward line combinations and D pairings used during Thursday's morning skate:
Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Elias Lindholm
Matthew Tkachuk - Mikael Backlund - Andrew Mangiapane
Milan Lucic - Derek Ryan - Sam Bennett
Tobias Rieder - Mark Jankowski - Michael Frolik
Mark Giordano - Rasmus Andersson
Noah Hanifin - Travis Hamonic
TJ Brodie - Michael Stone