Top 25 Under 25, no. 5: Mark Stone
After a strong season, Mark Stone climbs to the number 5 spot in the Top 25 Under 25 series
Mark Stone jumped from the 12th spot in last year's rankings to fifth spot this year. It was a big year for Stone. With an injury to Bobby Ryan, he became a regular in the Senators' top 6 alongside Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur. Not only that, but he also recorded his first NHL goal against Carey Price on January 4th.
In only his second pro year, Stone looked pretty confident, putting up four goals and four assists in 19 games with the big club. At the AHL level, he chalked up an impressive 15 goals and 26 assists in 37 games. He was second on the Binghamton Senators with 1.11 points per game and first on the team with a 19.7% shooting percentage. Such a high shooting percentage will surely dip at the NHL level and with a larger sample size, but it is good to see that he knows how to find the back of the net.
Stone has run into a series of injury troubles over the past two years, so hopefully he will be able to kick the injury bug and stay healthy this season. He is heading into his last year of his entry level deal, so that may add some extra motivation for him this upcoming year.
Mark Stone came across very motivated in an interview with the Ottawa Citizen:
"My mindset is, the way I played at the end of the year, I'm an NHL player. Now, it's a matter of finding a role and being able to do it consistently. I was able to do it for a 12-game span, but now I need to do it for an 82-game season. Once you get that taste, it's something you want to do every day. I'm not going to differ from that goal until I've finally made it. I'm not take taking anything for granted."
In the last month of the season, Stone showed that he belongs in the NHL. If he keeps up his excellent play, he will definitely find himself playing a key role in the future of the club. It's clear to see that Stone has the potential to be a rock-solid player. It seems as though the Senators have found another pebble in the rough with their 6th round 178th pick in 2010 who may be a cornerstone of their offense in a few years.