After it was first reported that young Senators forward Mark Stone suffered a concussion in training camp, his second in a six-month period, many were not optimistic about a speedy recovery. The phrases “no timetable” and “out indefinitely” seemed more likely to mean the injury was long-term than only minor. However, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports today that GM Pierre Dorion actually expects Stone to be in the starting lineup on opening night on October 12th. If this prediction rings true, it will not be a very long absence for Stone after all, rather less than three weeks before he’s ready for game action. Whether this projection is accurate (or safe) is up for debate, but having Stone ready to start the season would be very lucky for Ottawa. The top-six winger is coming off of back-to-back 60+ point seasons, and is one of the best all-around players on the team. A day-to-day diagnosis was the best case scenario for Senators fans.
In other Ottawa news:
- Garrioch also reports that Dorion informed him that he has stayed in touch with the agents for defensemen Kris Russell and Dennis Seidenberg. While the Senators have a solid top four on the blue line, their depth is lacking after that. Dorion wants to see how the preseason goes for the Sens defense, especially when it comes to the performance of Chris Wideman, Michael Kostka, and invite Matt Bartkowski, before he makes the decision to sign one of the veteran defensemen left on the market. Russell has been one of the big stories of the off-season, as many are surprised that he is still available, and he would be a perfect fit on any team’s bottom pair, while the Senators have faced the veteran Bruin Seidenberg for years and may be interested in bringing him in for his experience and leadership.
- Ottawa has already brought in one former veteran member of the Boston Bruins, and former-Sen, in Chris Kelly. Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun writes that Kelly may not be the strong two-way presence he once was, but brings a “maturity” and leadership that the Senators greatly needed. Kelly turned down an offer to return to the Bruins, coming off a season-ending injury in 2015-16, as he felt that his leadership ability made him a better fit on a young Senators squad than the veteran, captain-filled Bruins team.
- Garrioch adds that, while Kelly was already in the fold, the Senators did reach out to Antoine Vermette when the experienced center became available late in the off-season. However, Dorion says that by the time he made contact, Vermette already felt comfortable with accepting the offer that the Anaheim Ducks had made him.