Late luggage aside, Mark Stone had little to complain about Tuesday morning.
He was with a new organization that he said “checks off all the boxes.” He was set to play his first game in eight days after being scratched three times while the Ottawa Senators worked on trading him.
And after plenty of speculation about his future, Stone was secure knowing he’ll soon sign an eight-year extension with the Golden Knights for a reported $9.5 million average annual salary.
“I don’t want to see my face on TV for a while unless it’s for scoring goals,” Stone said. “It’s been a long month and a half trying to make a decision, trying to get something settled whether I was going to move on or stay in Ottawa. Now I’m just excited to play.”
Stone, 26, played Tuesday against the Dallas Stars a day after being traded to the Knights for forward Oscar Lindberg, defenseman prospect Erik Brannstrom and a 2020 second-round pick. He didn’t participate in the Knights’ morning skate because his equipment hadn’t arrived yet, but at night he skated with center Paul Stastny and winger Max Pacioretty.
It was Stone’s first NHL game without a Senators sweater. The winger had been with the same organization since being picked at the end of the sixth round in 2010. He admitted leaving Ottawa was emotional, but once it became clear a few days before the deadline that he would be on the move he said the Knights were “at the top” of his list.
“Ottawa was the only thing I ever knew,” Stone said. “I enjoyed my eight years since I was drafted there. They treated me so well. Yesterday was a tough day for me and my family, my girlfriend, all the close people I’ve met not only through hockey, but in the city.
“But there’s excitement. This team is looking to win right now, and I can’t complain about that.”
Stone said the fanbase, city and team were the reasons for his excitement. He was energized by the greeting he received at the airport, when he was met by Knights cheerleaders, the Vegas Belles showgirls, a line of the Drumbots and mascot Chance.
“I wasn’t expecting that at all, but they do everything big here,” Stone said. “It’s an awesome place to play.”
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) February 26, 2019
Carpenter comes back
The Knights activated forward Ryan Carpenter off injured reserve Tuesday and he played against the Stars.
Carpenter sustained an upper-body injury Feb. 5 against the Tampa Bay Lightning after taking a hard hit from Cedric Paquette and missed eight games.
“Hopefully, he can get back on track right away and compete hard, play hard,” coach Gerard Gallant said Tuesday morning. “Defensively, he’s really intelligent. Smart. You’d like to get a little more offense out of him, but the main thing is he’s doing a good job defensively.”
The Knights did not have to make a corresponding move because the NHL’s 23-man roster limit is no longer in place after the trade deadline.
The Knights launched a Kids Club on Tuesday for fans ages 2-14.
Membership costs $50 plus shipping and lasts one year. Members get exclusive items like a Knights lunch box as part of their membership as well as access to special events and ticket offers.
Fans can sign up at nhl.com/goldenknights/fans/kids-club.
Odds and ends
■ Lindberg scored a goal on his first shift with the Senators in a 7-2 loss to the Washington Capitals.
■ Defenseman Colin Miller returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for two games.
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