The Review-Journal presents its “Roster Review” series, which will examine each Golden Knights player’s current production and future outlook in alphabetical order. Saturday: Right wing Mark Stone.
The Golden Knights and Mark Stone got married before even dating.
The two sides agreed to the parameters of an eight-year, $76 million contract before the homegrown Ottawa Senators star played a game for his new team. They just figured they were a match.
Stone wanted to compete for Stanley Cups. And the Knights were ecstatic to add a two-way terror that could set the tone for the organization on and off the ice.
About a year later, neither side is doubting the decision.
Stone’s game is like a great impressionist painting, well-crafted novel or carefully constructed film. It can be enjoyed from a distance. But it’s so much more rewarding upon closer examination.
The nuances of Stone’s game don’t pop from 10,000 feet. He doesn’t have blazing speed. He isn’t the world’s finest stick handler. He won’t blow away opponents with his shot.
What he does is affect the action on the ice. Anytime a puck gets remotely near him, it becomes his. His 78 takeaways are tied for second-most in the NHL, despite him missing six games. His 122 takeaways last season — the fourth-most in a season in league history — helped him finish second in the Selke Trophy voting.
Stone’s propensity to grab, poke, deflect or otherwise affect pucks make him a nightmare to play against. He shuts down opposing offenses before they get going. And he provides the Knights with plenty of scoring chances in transition.
Stone has showed that again this season by scoring 63 points in 65 games. He has accomplished that because he still plays like he has something to prove.
The fierce Stone has never forgotten that he was a sixth-round pick in 2010, so he goes full tilt every time he plays, like a Tasmanian devil on ice.
“He gets so fired up it gets me fired up, gets the boys fired up,” linemate Max Pacioretty said in December. “He’s a tremendous competitor.”
Stone, 28, might have the most ironclad future of any of the Knights.
He’s under contract through the 2025-26 season and has a full no-movement clause. Only center William Karlsson is under contract for as long, but he doesn’t have the same protection as Stone, who has the 16th-highest cap hit in the NHL this season at $9.5 million.
The team’s present and future are firmly in his hands. And no one on the Knights is complaining.
“He just works his bag off,” right wing Ryan Reaves said in December. “That what’s you want out of a top player and a leader on your team.”
Mark Stone file
Birthplace: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Position: Right wing
2019-20 stats: 65 games, 21 goals, 42 assists