As if being an Ottawa Senators fan wasn’t hard enough right now, a report surfaced this morning that suggested Mark Stone wanted out of the city when his contract expired at the end of this season. Stone settled with the Senators this offseason on just a one-year deal that will pay him $7.35MM this season and qualifies for unrestricted free agency on July 1, 2019. The 26-year old forward was asked about the report after practice today, and denied it vehemently.
I love it here. This has been a great month for me, I’ve enjoyed my previous four years here and I want to continue to be here.
As a player you’re looking to win every time you step on the ice. No matter who you’re playing with, no matter who’s in the lineup you have to look at it the same way. Obviously [the Senators front office] has said they’re rebuilding, but I think for the guys in this locker room we’re looking to win hockey games and looking to win as many as we can.
Stone could potentially be one of the very best forwards available on the open market next summer if he decides not to re-sign with the Senators, and can’t actually put pen to paper on a contract extension until January 1st, 2019. Even if he is enjoying things right now, it’s a dangerous situation for the Senators to be in given their expected struggles this season. Still, Stone has never said anything to make Ottawa believe that he wouldn’t be willing to stay and was even in discussions on a long-term deal this offseason at one point.
- Not only do the Florida Panthers have a new captain in Aleksander Barkov, but today they announced their entire leadership group. Keith Yandle, Aaron Ekblad, Vincent Trocheck and Jonathan Huberdeau will all wear an “A” as alternate captains at various times this season, solidifying that group of five as the core of the team going forward. Among them, only Yandle is older than 25 while Barkov and Ekblad are still just 22 and 23 respectively, giving the Panthers a chance to keep most of the group together for a long time. In fact, all five are signed through at least the 2021-22 season and should help Florida return to the playoffs at some point in the next few years.
- Michael Russo of The Athletic (subscription required) is reporting that Gustav Olofsson has suffered another shoulder injury, and there is fear that it is serious. Olofsson underwent an MRI yesterday, but there has been no update from the team as of yet. The 23-year old defenseman played 41 games for the Wild last season and could have perhaps battled for a full-time spot had he not suffered the injury. Selected in the second round five years ago, Olofsson has been limited by injury throughout his professional career and will hope for good news this time around.