After letting the disappointment of the season settle down a bit, we will now take the opportunity to examine the performance by each player on the roster who played 10 games or more with the Senators. The good, the bad and sometimes ugly of the season gone by, the future and their potential contributions. This year we will go from fewest games played to the most.
Mark Stone had a golden opportunity to crack the lineup out of training camp, with roster spots open. However, he was returned to Binghamton to start the season, and as has been the case through his short professional career, injuries hit early and often. He was injured in Binghamton’s first game of the season and missed a month, but returned and played well enough to earn a recall to Ottawa as the New Year turned.
Stone struggled to find his place in that first 7 game stint, scoring a goal and an assist before getting injured again and missing almost another month. He was returned to Binghamton during the Olympic break, where he started to find his own and earned another recall, for the last 12 games of the season.
This time around, Stone looked healthier and more comfortable in the NHL lineup, getting a goal and 3 assists in his first 3 games. Although he netted just 2 goals over his next 9 games, his play was head and shoulders above what he had shown in previous auditions and it looked like he had become a full time NHLer.
He returned to Binghamton after the Ottawa season ended, and will get a valuable and hopefully deep playoff run in the AHL.
- Scored his first career NHL goal January 4th against Montreal
- Showed grit, playmaking ability and solid hands in his last stint playing in the Senators top 6
- Still needs to work on his skating, but much improved over previous seasons
- Bearing down and burying chances would have seen him have more offensive success
Stone will be entering the final year of his entry level deal with a base salary fo $575,000 and potential bonuses of $245,000. He will be a restricted free agent at the end of next season.
With potential changes afoot in Ottawa, Stone will surely be given every opportunity to be a part of the team next season in a prominent role. It remains to be seen what will happen with Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek and Ales Hemsky, but there will most likely be a top 6 winger position that will be his for the taking.
GRADE: B His first stint wasn’t anything to write home about, but fans got a glimpse of (hopefully) the real Mark Stone in the final 3 weeks of the season.