In one of the bigger trade deadline deals in recent memory, on February 25th, 2019, the Vegas Golden Knights agreed to trade top prospect Erik Brannstrom, forward Oscar Lindberg, and a 2020 2nd round pick to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Mark Stone. On March 8th, 2019, Stone and his representatives put pen to paper making him the highest-paid player in franchise history, as he inked an eight-year, $76 million extension with the Knights. This deal prevented him from becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, 2019.
Since his arrival, Mark Stone has lived up to his hefty price tag, as he has scored twenty-six goals, and registered forty-eight assists with the Golden Knights for seventy-four points in eighty-three games. This season, his twenty-one goals were the fourth-highest on Vegas behind Max Pacioretty’s thirty-two, Reilly Smith’s twenty-seven, and Jonathan Marchessault’s twenty-two. His forty-two assists were the team highest, and his sixty-three total points trailed only Max Pacioretty’s sixty-six for the team lead. As usual, Stone had a positive penalty taken/drawn ratio of 9:10, and one of the best giveaway/takeaway ratios in the league with a 38:78 (a whopping +40 turnover +/-). Stone even finished 2019-20 with a +15 +/- number, which was the fourth-highest rating on the team, behind Chandler Stephenson (+24), Max Pacioretty (+18), and Reilly Smith (+17).
AB wise, Stone was fantastic yet again, as he registered the highest individual score on the Golden Knights this season with a +4.38. Stone has always registered extremely high individual AB scores and has never registered a negative individual score in the seven-years of data we have on him. Over the course of his career, he has exceeded a +4 individual score in four of the seven seasons of data, including a +7.31 score in 2014-15, a +5.31 score in 2016-17, and a +6.08 score in 2018-19. Our arbitration analyzer ranks Stone as the twenty-third best forward in hockey and confirms that his current $9.5 million salary is of fair value for a player of his caliber.
In part due to the elite play of Stone, Vegas currently sits in 1st place in the Pacific Division with a three-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers despite each playing 71 games. Vegas had a 39-24-8 record in those 71 games and were on an 8-2 streak in their last 10 games. In fact, since Peter DeBoer took over for Gerard Gallant on January 15th, the team has a solid 15-5-2 record, which is among the best in the league over that span. We hope the NHL resumes play soon so that we can see if Stone can continue leading the charge in Vegas, and to see if his efforts can help the Golden Knights capture the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. More to come.