Frozen Pool Forensics: Mark Stone

by Cam Robinson on October 23, 2015

Is Mark Stone's tremendous start for real?

Today we look at Mark Stone, who has absolutely burst onto the scene in Ottawa and is generating buzz well outside of the nation’s capital. He and his linemates are picking up where they left off last season and torching the league on a nightly basis.

After an okay showing to start his rookie season, Stone took off after the Christmas break scoring 18 goals and 47 points in his final 46 regular season games. He scored a whopping 48 even-strength points – good for 17th in the league –  while shooting at a 16.6% clip; high, but not compared to his AHL numbers in 2012-13 and 2013-14 (17.6% and 19.7% respectively) or to similar sniping wingers (Hudler 19.6%, Cammalleri 17.3%, Perry 17.1%…). Stone’s power-play numbers have yet to match his illustrious even-strength production. He scored a mere 13 points on the power play last season (116th overall) while seeing an average of 2:23 per game. This season he has seen his power play time jump up to an average of 3:16 per game, but the production has yet to accompany it. Of his eight points through six games, only one has come with the man advantage.

Last season, Stone spent most of his time with his favourite young centre, Kyle Turris, but had a mixed bag of left-wingers ranging from Clarke MaCarthur to Erik Condra. This season, Stone has spent almost all of his even-strength shifts next to Turris and Mike Hoffman. The results have been fantastic as each player has recorded over a point-per-game through the first six contests.

 

2014-2015

32.14%

EV

16 MACARTHUR,CLARKE – 61 STONE,MARK – 7 TURRIS,KYLE

23.25%

EV

9 MICHALEK,MILAN – 61 STONE,MARK – 7 TURRIS,KYLE

8.03%

EV

68 HOFFMAN,MIKE – 27 LAZAR,CURTIS – 61 STONE,MARK

3.86%

EV

17 LEGWAND,DAVID – 9 MICHALEK,MILAN – 61 STONE,MARK

2.83%

EV

90 CHIASSON,ALEX – 61 STONE,MARK – 7 TURRIS,KYLE

2.56%

EV

9 MICHALEK,MILAN – 44 PAGEAU,JEAN-GABRIEL – 61 STONE,MARK

2.53%

EV

27 LAZAR,CURTIS – 61 STONE,MARK – 7 TURRIS,KYLE

2.32%

EV

22 CONDRA,ERIK – 61 STONE,MARK – 7 TURRIS,KYLE

 

2015-2016

82.89%

EV

68 HOFFMAN,MIKE – 61 STONE,MARK – 7 TURRIS,KYLE

3.18%

EV

61 STONE,MARK – 7 TURRIS,KYLE

1.71%

EV

6 RYAN,BOBBY – 61 STONE,MARK – 7 TURRIS,KYLE

1.71%

EV

68 HOFFMAN,MIKE – 61 STONE,MARK

1.47%

EV

68 HOFFMAN,MIKE – 44 PAGEAU,JEAN-GABRIEL – 61 STONE,MARK

1.47%

EV

68 HOFFMAN,MIKE – 61 STONE,MARK – 93 ZIBANEJAD,MIKA

The chemistry between the trio has been immediate and evident. With the top line acting as the foundation for the Senators forward corps and together with the reigning Norris trophy-winning Erik Karlsson, as well as youngsters Mika Zibanejad and Curtis Lazar, Ottawa is looking poised to build on their strong finish to last season and have fantasy teams lining up to grab a player from their roster.

What can fantasy owners expect from Stone as he continues to adapt to the NHL game and opposing teams start to key in on him and his line mates? By using the Dobber NHL Line Matching Tool, we can see that by the end of last season, opponents weren’t necessarily sending out their best defenders against the Stone line. Here is a look at two of the final regular season games from 2014-15 season against Toronto and Pittsburgh and the defensive pairings that Stone faced the most:

 

Frequency

Strength

Line Combination

25.61%

EV

PIT-58 LETANG,KRISTOPHER – PIT-4 SCUDERI,ROBERT

13.41%

EV

TOR-4 FRANSON,CODY – TOR-51 GARDINER,JAKE

13.41%

EV

PIT-7 MARTIN,PAUL – PIT-44 ORPIK,BROOKS

12.2%

EV

TOR-51 GARDINER,JAKE – TOR-3 PHANEUF,DION

10.98%

EV

TOR-51 GARDINER,JAKE – TOR-26 GRANBERG,PETTER

4.88%

EV

TOR-51 GARDINER,JAKE – TOR-44 RIELLY,MORGAN

3.66%

EV

PIT-47 DESPRES,SIMON – PIT-3 MAATTA,OLLI

 

As we can see, Stone saw most of his time on the ice against the opponent’s top defenders. Did this effect his production? Nope. He scored three goals and added an assist in that span. Coaches will continue to game plan around Stone and his line mates and while he’s off to a fantastic start, time will tell if he can continue his accelerated ascension during the ever-dangerous sophomore campaign. One thing’s for sure… no one will be sleeping on this late bloomer any longer.