The Calgary Flames provided a bit of very interesting news on Saturday.
According to a breaking news report from Peter Loubardias of Sportsnet's 960 radio in Calgary, the Flames are set to get a returning player back in their line up this evening after playing without him for nearly the entire 2018 - 2019 National Hockey League regular season. Loubardias reports that 28 year old Michael Stone will make his return to the Flames line up this evening after being out of action since all the way back in November of 2018.
Stone last played for the Flames on the 11th of November and was sidelined when blood clots were discovered in his body, requiring him to immediately step away from the game while he treated the issue. As a result up until this late stage of the season Stone has appeared in just a total of 11 games for the Flames thus far, with tonight's game set to be his 12th barring any drastic changes to the line up. Through those 11 games Stone had no goals and 4 assists and boasted a plus minus rating of -1 on the season.
The Flames are going with 7 defensemen on the evening which is likely an indication that they intend to limit Stone in his return to in game action, a move that of course makes all the sense in the world. Having that many blue liners in the line up will allow the Flames to limit Stone's minutes should they deem that to be necessary and given that they have a pretty big match up on the horizon it's perfectly understandable why they would move in that direction.
Alternatively though there's also very little question that this is going to be a showcase for Stone and if he does hope to get back into the regular rotation on the Flames main roster he's going to need a strong performance this evening. Oliver Kylington has really stepped up since Stone went down earlier this season due to his blood clots and I would not be surprised if Stone had to fight to earn himself a consistent spot in the line up for the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.