In the final minutes before the trade deadline today, the Vegas Golden Knights made huge move. In exchange for Oscar Lindberg, Erik Brannstrom, and a 2nd round draft pick in 2020, the Knights acquired Mark Stone, and prospect Tobias Lindberg (forward), from the Ottawa Senators.
Stone later reported that he will be signing an extension with the VGK that will likely be for 8 years, with a $9.5M AAV. Note: Stone will not be able to officially sign until March 1st
What did the Knights gain?
Mark Stone is 26 year old winger who’s currently playing his best season. Already this year, Stone has 28 goals and 34 assists, making him the Knights top goal scorer this season. He is a consistent 20+ goal scorer with assists in the upper 30s/lower 40s, AND has been a +9 (+/-) or above in the last 3 seasons. This type of player might be exactly what the Knights need to get them out of their “funk”, and back into being a contender for the Cup.
Noteworthy: Stone played junior hockey for the Brandon Wheat Kings for 3 years with Kelly McCrimmon, Assitant GM for VGK, as his coach.
What did the Knights lose?
Besides the obvious loss of Oscar Lindberg, who has been playing very well lately, and the 2020 draft pick, the Knights lost their top defensive prospect when giving up Erik Brannstrom. Brannstrom was drafted 15th overall in 2017. Since then, he has been a powerhouse for the Chicago Wolves (AHL). In just 41 games, Brannstrom recorded 7 goals and 21 assists as a defender. He also played in the World Junior Championships this year with Sweden and scored 4 goals in just 5 games! It’s tough to trade away a player like that with so much potential.
Tomorrow night the Knights will face off against the Dallas Stars. Right now the Knights and the Stars have an almost identical record, with the Stars having played 1 game less- Stars: 31-26-5, Knights 32-26-5. Unfortunately, the Knights haven’t been playing their best lately. Take a look at these interesting stats:
*VGK lost 6 of their last 7 games, 10 of their last 13, and 8 of 10 on home ice
*Fleury’s last 5 games: 0-4-1, .865 save percentage, 21 goals allowed
*Subban’s last 5 games: 3-2-0, .952 save percentage, 8 goals allowed
*Vegas Golden Knights record for the last 20 games is the same as the first 20 games: 8-11-1. Yikes.
In several player interviews, Knights talked about the team not working hard enough and there being a “mental” problem. After the last game however, it seems that the practices have been a little different, with a bit more intensity. Hopefully the Golden Knights can dig deep and remember the kind of team they CAN be when all players are working hard, working smart, and working together.
The Knights are great team with so much potential. Let’s be loud and proud at the Fortress tomorrow to help them remember this.