Solid As A Rock: Mark Stone Cements Himself as a VGK Star

For some people, change can be terrifying, especially when it comes to their favorite sports teams. That coach that you’ve rallied behind for x amount of years could suddenly be teaching a rival team. Players who you think are astronomical and you hope will take your team to the championship are suddenly whisked away to assist someone else.

That situation is exactly what happened back in late February, when the Vegas Golden Knights announced Mark Stone’s acquisition. They traded away a 2020 second round draft pick, Golden Knights forward Oscar Lindberg and promising prospect Erik Brannstrom, much to the dismay of a few fans. We made the Brannwagon our thing; he was our guy. What was this Stone character going to do for us?

As it turned out, he was going to do quite a lot.

Stone Rocks With Ottawa Senators

Before we jump right into what he did for Vegas, it’s imperative to look at his stats from his time with Ottawa. A sixth round draft pick in 2010, Stone didn’t actually see any ice time until the 2011-2012 playoff season. He scored his first professional assist that year, in only one game played.

The 2012-2013 season, he only played four regular season games and one playoff game. Though he shot five times, he ended up with a big old goose egg in terms of goals and assists. He played 19 games in the 2013-2014 season, and managed to get four goals and 4 assists.

The 2014-2015 season is really when his career started heating up, and it continued well until he was traded in February. Below are his numbers through the years.

2014-2015
  • Games Played: 80
  • Goals Scored: 26
  • Assists: 38
  • Playoffs Made: Yes
2015-2016
  • Games Played: 75
  • Goals Scored: 23
  • Assists: 38
  • Playoffs Made: No
2016-2017
  • Games Played: 71
  • Goals Scored: 22
  • Assists: 32
  • Playoffs Made: Yes
2017-2018
  • Games Played: 58
  • Goals Scored: 20
  • Assists: 42
  • Playoffs Made: No
2018-2019 (Ottawa)
  • Games Played: 59
  • Goals Scored: 33
  • Assists: 40
  • Playoffs Made: Traded to Vegas before playoffs, but achieved playoffs with Vegas

You can see from those numbers above just why he garnered attention from the Golden Knights. It may seem like his numbers tapered off from 2014-2017, but take a closer look. He was playing fewer and fewer games year after year, but he was still able to get 20 or more goals and 30 or more assists. If anything, his numbers climbed.

A Solid Performance with Vegas

Though he only played 18 regular season games with the Golden Knights, the addition of Stone to the roster attracted plenty of attention from the media, from fans, and especially from the players.

This heavy hitter from Ottawa was brought in because he could put up numbers, and the Golden Knights were only winning every other game or so. They wanted to show their coaches and George McPhee that they could put up numbers too, that they could get wins. The arrival of Stone just served as a rallying cry.

And the thing is, it worked. In the 11 games after Stone became an official Golden Knight, Vegas went on to win ten of those games (before going on a five-game losing streak, but we don’t talk about those times). In the 18 regular season games Stone played, he managed to get five goals and six assists.

The real ROI for Stone came during the playoffs this season against the San Jose Sharks. During Game 2, Stone scored the leading goal for Vegas in the second period, bringing the score to 4-3. Vegas held that lead until the end (also thanks to William Karlsson), and Vegas won 5-3.

Game 3…Game 3 is where this star truly shined. Within 16 seconds of the game even starting, Stone fired the puck past Martin Jones. It would be his first of three for the night. He would record his first career hat trick that night (as well as a W for Vegas) and he would go on to assist in crucial goals during Game 4.

The Golden Knights would ultimately fall, however, to the Sharks (no thanks to some questionable refereeing *ahem*). But looking back on the series as a whole, the Knights did superb, especially Stone. He was the leading goal scorer and the playoff points leader at 12. Definitely not bad for being the new guy on the block!

Star Power in the Offseason

Though it is the offseason, this Golden Knight hasn’t slowed down in the slightest. He’s gone on to play for Canada in the IIHF Men’s World Championships (along with Shea Theodore and Jonathan Marchessault, while Nikita Gusev is playing for Russia).

Team Canada lost to Finland on Friday, but had a complete shut-out of Great Britain on Sunday. Things got a little dicey on Monday, Mark’s birthday, against Slovakia. But with less than two seconds remaining in the third period, the birthday boy squeaked one past Slovakia goalie Marek Ciliak for the game-winning goal. Team Canada will next face Team France on Thursday.

It is clear that Vegas acquired a stellar athlete in Stone. He puts up numbers and sparks drive and determination in his team. With an eight-year extension ahead of him, it will be interesting to see exactly where his star power will propel him (and the Golden Knights) to next. We can only hope that next year, it’s to meet Lord Stanley.

About Crystal Hollibaugh

Crystal Hollibaugh is a Communications Specialist, writer, and blogger who loves feeding waterfowl and painting waterfalls.

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