By AJ Manderichio | AnaheimDucks.com
As we approach training camp and the start of the 2014-15 season, AnaheimDucks.com will preview each player on the roster, highlighting last season’s accomplishments and providing insight into what you can expect this season. Our preview starts with one of the new members of the squad, Clayton Stoner.
The Ducks search for size and depth along the blueline brought Clayton Stoner to Orange County. The 6-4, 216-pound defenseman played a physical style, making his presence known on the Minnesota backend throughout the 2014 playoffs.
As a member of the Wild, Stoner led defenseman in hits (99) while collecting five points (1g/4a) in 63 games. He skated in his 200th career NHL game on December 22 against the New York Rangers.
Stoner elevated his play in the postseason, skating in all 13 of the Wild’s games and collecting a career-high three points. His hard-nosed style and solid play against both the Colorado Avalanche and Chicago Blackhawks caught the eye of Head Coach Bruce Boudreau.
“Watching the playoffs and watching Clayton hit guys and take no prisoners and making plays, I thought this guy would be a really good addition for our team,” he said in a July interview.
When he hit free agency this summer, Stoner looked to the Ducks as an ideal destination.
“As a player on a different team, you always look at Anaheim as being a beautiful place to live,” he said after signing on July 1. “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.”
The defenseman also provided a preview of what fans can expect to see next season.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Stoner’s first goal of the season was a highlight-reel finish against the New York Islanders. After his minor penalty for boarding expired, he stepped out of the box and into a breakaway. Taking a feed from Mikko Koivu, Stoner broke in alone on Islanders goalie Anders Nilsson. He deked once before snapping a shot past the outstretched blocker, finishing with a crash into the end boards for the score.
BY THE NUMBERS
10 -- While not an “offensive” defenseman, Stoner has shown the ability to post points. His career-high 10 assists came during the 2012-13 campaign with the Wild.
63 -- Stoner set a career-high for games played last season, missing 15 due to a lower-body injury.
18:12 -- Career-best time on ice for Stoner during the 2012-13 campaign, a sign the physical defenseman can handle big minutes on the blueline.
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