It was a busy morning for the Ottawa Senators. Just minutes after news broke that the team re-signed Mika Zibanejad, they followed up with more big news. They signed forward Mark Stone to a three-year contract extension worth an annual average of $3.5 million ($2.25M, $3.75M, $4.5M).
BREAKING: The #Sens have agreed to terms with forward Mark Stone on a three-year contract extension.— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) June 25, 2015
To say that Stone had a breakout season would be a slight understatement. The 23-year-old tied Johnny Gaudreau in rookie scoring with 64 points in 80 games played. He also finished tied with Filip Forsberg for second in rookie goals with 26. His +21 put him first among rookies and second on the team in +/-, behind only Marc Methot.
The bulk of Stone's success came in the second half of the season. After Dave Cameron stepped in as head coach, Stone's average ice time increased from about 15 minutes per game to over 18. Cameron moved him from a line with Curtis Lazar and Mike Hoffman to the top line with Kyle Turris and a rotation of Clarke MacArthur and Milan Michalek. In 2015 alone, Stone scored 47 points in 46 games. Clearly there is something to be said for how a coach uses his players.
In an off-season that features a number of high-profile RFAs, it's great to see the Sens locking down some of these young players for the time being.
And finally, let's take a look at one of Stone's biggest goals from this season: