The Ottawa Senators made the biggest move of yesterday’s trade deadline, trading Mark Stone and Tobias Lindberg to the Vegas Golden Knights for Erik Brannstrom, Oscar Lindberg and a 2nd round pick. To get some perspective from the Golden Knights’ side of things, Ryan Quigley from Knights On Ice has taken the time to answer three questions. Here are his answers:
Q: How will Mark Stone fit into the Vegas Golden Knights’ lineup? Who you do expect will be playing on his line?
Ryan: I can’t imagine a scenario where Stone isn’t playing on the top line. If I had to guess, I’d think Reilly Smith gets bumped down to the middle six and Stone plays on the wing next to William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault. Vegas’ top line hasn’t been quite the threat it was last season, but the addition of Stone will certainly make a big difference. The trio of Karlsson, Marchessault and Stone will be dynamic.
Q: What does this acquisition plus the impending eight year extension say about the direction of the Golden Knights moving forward?
Ryan: Trading for Stone is not only a “win now” move, but it’s also a big move for the future, as evidenced by Stone’s new contract. While the Knights were clearly dangerous last season, it’s become apparent this year that they’ve lacked a player capable of taking over a game. With Stone in the fold long-term, though, that changes everything. The Knights now have their star, and he has an excellent supporting cast around him as well. And with 17 selections in the next two drafts, Vegas could be an even scarier team in a few years.
Q: Erik Brannstrom is a highly touted prospect who’s received rave reviews from around the league. Is there any concern amidst the fanbase in giving him up, or does the acquisition of Stone supersede all of that?
Ryan: When it was announced that Vegas had given Brannstrom up, the majority of Knights fans immediately went into panic mode. He hasn’t even played a game in the NHL yet, but fans seem to love him almost as much as any player currently on the Knights. Once the full details of the trade surfaced, though, fans seemed to accept the loss of Brannstrom rather quickly. Despite how promising the 19-year-old is, Stone is a proven NHLer who will make an immediate, long-term impact. I think most Knights fans were a bit stunned that George McPhee didn’t end up sending more the other way. Granted, there still may be some concern amongst Knights fans regarding the team’s future on the blue line, but Brannstrom isn’t Vegas’ only defensive prospect with the potential to make a big impact in the NHL. As time has passed, it seems more and more Knights fans are on board with the decision to sacrifice Brannstrom in order to get Stone.
Thanks to Ryan for graciously giving us insight into the Golden Knights’ perspective. You can read his writing and more Vegas hockey coverage over at Knights on Ice.