The trade everyone was anticipating today has finally happened. The Ottawa Senators have sent Mark Stone to the Vegas Golden Knights, in exchange for Erik Brannstrom, Oscar Lindberg and a 2nd round pick. Tobias Lindberg was also sent to Vegas in the deal.
Brannstrom, Oscar Lindberg, Second Round 2020 for Mark Stone. #Sens— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) February 25, 2019
Stone was originally drafted by the Sens in 6th round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, and has become one of the NHL’s biggest success stories since then. With his skating being the biggest knock against him at the draft tables, his hard work shovelled away any concern, quickly turning himself into an NHL superstar. He finished second place in Calder Trophy voting in 2015, being inched out by Aaron Ekblad as the league’s best rookie.
Touted for his defensive prowess, ranking 3rd in Selke votes in the PHWA’s 2018-19 mid-season awards and leading the league in takeaways by a country mile since he entered the league, Stone has also turned into one the NHL’s elite offensive wingers. He scored 62 points in 58 games last season, and is on an almost identical pace this year with 62 points in 59 games. His underlying numbers are even more glimmering, as there’s never been a player whose game Stone can’t help elevate.
On top of all that, Stone’s passion and energy on the ice is unparalleled, which naturally made him a fan favourite. His teammates adored him as well, with rookie Brady Tkachuk living with him this season. From his iconic celebrations to his memorable clutch goals, Stone has cemented himself as one of the greatest players to ever put on a Senators jersey.
Unfortunately, contract extension talks went sideways between the Sens and Stone, who’s scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. An expiring RFA last off-season, the Senators narrowly avoided arbitration by settling with him on a one-year deal worth $7.35 million, the same term he would’ve received by going through an arbiter.
The two sides were reportedly close to signing a long-term extension last summer, with similar discussions happening in the most recent negotiations. Lockout-proof signing bonuses became a sticking point, however, which the Sens could not provide, leading to today’s decision.
In return, the Senators receive Erik Brannstrom, a 19-year-old defenceman from Sweden. Brannstrom was selected 15th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, and is best described as a two-way player with a complete toolkit. He scored four goals in five games for Sweden at the most recent World Junior Championships, and is currently playing for the AHL’s Chicago Wolves, where he has 28 points in 41 games.
Oscar Lindberg is also Ottawa-bound. A 27-year-old forward, Lindberg was picked off the New York Rangers by Vegas at the expansion draft. He has twelve points in 35 games this season.
The 2nd round pick picked received is the Dallas Stars’ pick in 2020.
On top of all this, it appears that Stone is close to an extension with Vegas. The rumoured numbers are eight years with a cap hit of $9.5 million, although he won’t be able to officially sign it until March 1st. We will update this article as new information comes out.
We wish Mark Stone the best with his new team. He’ll be sorely missed in Ottawa.