As expected yet just under the wire, the Ottawa Senators have traded Mark Stone to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for Erik Brannstrom, Oscar Lindberg, and Dallas’ second-round pick in 2020.
It’s mission accomplished for the rebuilding Senators, who have now parted with their three leading scoring forwards, all of whom are UFAs at the end of the season. Word is that the Golden Knights and Stone have agreed to an eight-year extension with an AAV of $9.5 million, but it can’t officially be signed until March 1.
Stone has scored over a point per game this season and has averaged 0.85 points per game over his seven-season career, all with Ottawa. With as much money as Vegas has reportedly committed to Stone, it’s possible that Stone could be elevated to the top line beside Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson. Stone could also find himself on a second line with Paul Stastny and Max Pacioretty, so either way he will benefit with linemates that are at least as strong as the ones he had in Ottawa. Stone also led the Sens in power-play points (17), so he should immediately slot on to the Golden Knights’ first unit. There’s absolutely no loss in value for Stone and perhaps even a gain.
Stone will bump either Reilly Smith or Alex Tuch out of the top six. Tuch is actually the Golden Knights’ leading scorer (43 points in 55 games) and has the top points-per-game average (0.78). Smith is more likely due for a demotion, even though he has been heating up lately with eight points in his last eight games. Smith was a better first-season scorer in both Boston and Florida, and he is following the trend here (0.90 PTS/GP in 2017-18, 0.63 PTS/GP in 2018-19). Smith could also lose first-unit power-play duties, but there doesn’t seem to be much separation between the first and second units in Vegas anyway.
With Brannstrom no