The negative viewpoint of the Ottawa Senators offense is often the focal point for fans and writers alike. Going under the radar is Mark Stone, who is exceptional.
Not many sixth round picks turn into NHL stars, drafting truly is a lottery if you’ll forgive that play on words. Selected 178th overall, Mark Stone is a true reflection on how nurturing players the right way within your organization can lead to unforeseen rewards.
Having plied his trade in Binghamton for a couple of seasons, developing in the American Hockey League, he honed his skill set.
What’s so impressive about Stone then?
For me, he combines everything that will make you a successful forward in the NHL. Speed, power, strength and hands. Have you seen his hands? Making plays that beg belief.
Mark Stone is also a two-way forward. Tracking back and helping out his team defensively, using his brute force to make the right checks and goal-saving plays.
How is he underrated?
Firstly, look at his contract. With one year left on his current deal at $3,500,000 in terms of cap hit. Stone’s personal salary will be $4,500,000 next season. Averaging 0.75 PPG that contract truly was a steal in today’s NHL.
We’ve spoken a lot about a potential trade for Matt Duchene who is averaging the same numbers, and double the cap hit. Whereas Ottawa have their point scorer already in the lineup for next to nothing in terms of cap space.
Given the numbers he has and that he is a two-way player, Stone is never in any award chatter. Ottawa is a smaller market and doesn’t attract the glitz and glamour of certain other terms. If Stone was playing for the Chicago Blackhawks there would be a media circus around him.
What else does he bring to the table?
Passion. This guy loves his hockey and loves the team he is playing for. He brings his game most nights, with the exception of a few where the whole team never arrived.
The way he celebrates his goals show how much it means to him. Ottawa need players like him, not just anyone who laces up, plays, and shows no emotion.
Mentioned already, but guaranteed points. Currently on course to smash his previous best records in the NHL. Stone has 41 points in 53 games. He will get to the 80 point mark or just short of it.
At the end of next season, don’t be surprised if he asks for something in the region of $7,000,000. Many would absolutely take that given Bobby Ryan’s contract. If somehow, the Sens organization can land him for $6,000,000 they’ll be laughing for years to come.