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 longer waiting in the wings, Shea Theodore’s role as the first-unit power-play QB is a whole lot more secure going forward. The trade won’t help his value this season, though, as Brannstrom was playing for the Chicago Wolves. To a lesser extent, the same can be said about Colin Miller and Nate Schmidt, as the trade will allow them to maintain their power-play duties.
See Brannstrom’s Dobber Prospects profile here.
The Senators didn’t receive a first-round pick for Stone, but it’s difficult for them to say no on a deal involving Brannstrom, who was Vegas’ top prospect. Even if the Sens already have their blueliner/PP1 QB of the future in Thomas Chabot, defensemen are an extremely valuable commodity in trades. Brannstrom’s addition to Ottawa may unfortunately cut into the value of Chabot, particularly if the Senators use a 4F-1D PP1 in the future. However, if Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson can coexist in San Jose, then both Chabot and Brannstrom should be just fine. Chabot has earned the right to maintain that spot for the rest of the season if Brannstrom is called up, but it will be interesting to see what happens after that.
Since Stone has been held out of the Sens’ lineup for the past three games, we’ve already caught a glimpse of how the forward lines will shake out. Here they are:
#1 14.2% PAAJARVI,MAGNUS – PAGEAU,JEAN-GABRIEL – SMITH,ZACK
#2 5.8% BROWN,LOGAN – DUCLAIR,ANTHONY – RYAN,BOBBY
#3 5.6% BALCERS,RUDOLFS – CHLAPIK,FILIP – SMITH,ZACK
#4 5.3% RYAN,BOBBY – TIERNEY,CHRIS – TKACHUK,BRADY
#1 22.4% BOEDKER,MIKKEL – PAGEAU,JEAN-GABRIEL – RYAN,BOBBY – TKACHUK,BRADY
#2 14.9% BOEDKER,MIKKEL – RYAN,BOBBY – TIERNEY,CHRIS – TKACHUK,BRADY
#3 11.9% BATHERSON,DRAKE – BROWN,LOGAN – CHLAPIK,FILIP – WHITE,COLIN
#4 10.4% BATHERSON,DRAKE – DUCLAIR,ANTHONY – RYAN,BOBBY – TKACHUK,BRADY
These lines will hardly be carved in stone (pardon the pun) given the young players in the Senators’ lineup. The Duchene and Stone departures have already paved the way for power-play time for Mikkel Boedker and Brady Tkachuk. Obviously the latter will be a lock for first-unit minutes going forward. A look at the Senators’ Dobber Prospects page lists Tkachuk, White, Drake Batherson, Logan Brown, Alex Formenton, and recently acquired Vitali Abramov as their top prospect forwards when you combine NHL certainty with fantasy upside. All should benefit in some way in terms of expected arrival or increased role with the Senators’ recent trades.
Players this helps, in order:
Theodore (long term)
Sens’ prospect forwards listed above
Brannstrom (likely to be recalled earlier)
Players this hurts, in order:
Fantasy owners are discussing the trade on the Forum – give your take here!
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