The Vegas Golden Knights have made their big deadline splash, acquiring Mark Stone from the Ottawa Senators according to several reports including Bob McKenzie of TSN. The Senators will receive prospect Erik Brannstrom, forward Oscar Lindberg and a 2020 second-round selection (DAL). Tobias Lindberg will also go to Vegas in order to even out the contract slots. Stone himself told TSN that he is close to an extension with the Golden Knights. The deal is expected to be an eight-year contract with an average annual value of $9.5MM. The extension will not be officially signed until March 1st due to the tagging rule.
Stone, 26, is one of the most dynamic two-way wingers in the entire league and is having another excellent season. With 62 points in 59 games he is on track to blow by his previous career-high of 64, and will pass the 30-goal threshold for the first time in his career. Not only is he an effective offensive player, but Stone has repeatedly proven to be an elite defensive winger and routinely creates turnovers by stripping opposing players of the puck. He has received Selke Trophy votes for the last four seasons, even finishing sixth in 2017 despite the award usually going to centers.
That kind of all-around talent is why Stone was so coveted at the deadline, and why the Senators tried desperately to sign him to an extension. Apparently that couldn’t be worked out for whatever reason so the team cashed in for the best package available. Brannstrom, the 15th-overall pick from 2017, is having an excellent season as a 19-year old in the AHL and has impressed every step of the way. With 28 points in 41 games for the Chicago Wolves there are few defensemen in the minor leagues that can carry the puck as well as the new Senators prospect, and he has been repeatedly compared to Erik Karlsson over the last few years. Obviously that will put huge expectations on the young defenseman, but Ottawa did well to land a prospect of his stature.
Still, it is surprising that the team did not secure a first-round pick along with Brannstrom given the reported ask in recent days. The Senators do now have a huge number of picks in the next few drafts but watched their top three scorers walk out the door in the last few days. They’ll have to build quickly as the 2021 timeline that owner Eugene Melnyk suggested for contention is coming fast.