Stoner makes his mark, leaving Scott expendable
MICHAEL RUSSO, Star Tribune
Clayton Stoner continues to impress during his promotion to the Wild after 4 1/2 years in Houston, but it’s too early to determine whether the defenseman will stick.
“There’s a saying … ‘You’re good enough to get here. Now are you good enough to stay?’” coach Todd Richards said. “You always have that initial adrenaline push where you come up and you’re able to keep up with the pace just because of that high.
“Eventually there comes a letdown and that’s what he’s got to guard against. He’s got to keep his play elevated.”
The Wild reassigned Jaime Sifers to Houston last week, called up Stoner, flew him to Montreal and played him over John Scott against the Canadiens without even a practice.
Scott has been scratched in seven of the past 12 games. When he’s played in that stretch, he’s had some hiccups — most memorably, three minors at Colorado and an ill-advised icing that led to a goal against Columbus.
Asked if Stoner’s presence is an indictment of Scott, Richards said, “You want to reward guys [in Houston] and give guys opportunities, and guys have to know here if their play isn’t up to par, there’s other guys that can and will step ahead of them in the lineup.”
The 6-3, 225-pound Stoner brings size, strength, toughness and mobility to the back end, and he’s making Scott expendable with his willingness to fight.