Redline Report ranked Ryan Stone as the 29th best amateur in the world among 2003 draft eligibles. The Hockey News had him 32nd (a direct hit) and Central Scouting had him #12 NA skater which would project late first round.
If he had a “range of expectation” for his draft number it would have been 27-35. He landed in the range, which usually means he doesn’t have any kind of warts that scouts identified; warts might be a weird wide-body skating style, a history of concussion, a sense of entitlement or possibly a Dad wound too tight.
Stone did have an injury file on his draft day. He was injured in Brandon during his draft year and although he attended the TC for Canada’s U18 team he suffered a concussion in the intra-squad game and never made the trip to Russia.
Otherwise, he looked pretty normal. 6.01, 200 and HN said “Ryan Stone is as tough as they come and a player you don’t want to annoy, unless you like a serving of leather lunch in the form of a glove in the face.”
Said a scout: “He’s a tough cookie, skating is an issue. I’d like to see him get his goal production up.” I find the part about goal production kind of funny because as much as the “saw him good” crowd like to rip the math people no math person I know would make a statement like the one this scout made about goal production. Why? Because it’s pretty damn obvious why he didn’t score more goals (he popped 14 in 54 games) and it has to do with ability.
His goal and point production improved at a normal pace during his 18 and 19-year old seasons in junior and he had a nice playoff run spring 2005 (24gp, 4-23-27). He turned pro the same season as Pouliot and Jacques, so I thought it might be a good idea to place their 20-year old numbers beside each other to see if there was a match:
- Pouliot 65gp, 15-30-45 .692
- Jacques 65gp, 24-20-44 .677
- Stone 75gp, 14-22-36 .480
Stone’s club was the better scoring team so the only real reason for a gap like that would have to be his role on the Penguins. Let’s try these 3 at 21-years old:
- Pouliot 33gp, 14-17-31 .939
- Jacques 29gp, 10-17-27 .931
- Stone 41gp, 7-26-33 .805
We’re dealing with injuries, callups and missed games here but the trend appears to be continuing in year 2. It should be mentioned these guys were on the same club (SWB Penguins) this season (06-07). Since we’re almost through the exercise let’s post their 22-year old AHL seasons and see if the trend continues:
- Pouliot 55gp, 21-26-47 .855
- Jacques 38gp, 11-14-25 .657
- Stone 65gp, 11-28-39 .600
Once again, same team for all 3. I’d say this is pretty much a trend by now. To be fair, their skill sets are different and Stone is a guy whose toughness and apparent willingness to drop his gloves puts him in a slightly different category (certainly from Pouliot, anyway). Still, it looks like Stone is shy offensively for the scoring lines which means we’re looking at a role player who will need some breaks to have an NHL career.
NHL teams have them by the bushel. We’ll see how it goes.