If there’s one player that the New York Islanders need to target either via trade or in free agency this July, it’s the Ottawa Senators right-winger Mark Stone.
The New York Islanders should do everything in their power to land Mark Stone. Either through trade during the season or by putting on their fanciest duds, rolling out the red carpet, and wooing the heck out of Stone in the free agency window.
Stone is a fundamentally strong player. He knows where to be and what do to. He’s responsible with the puck and rarely makes a mistake. He fits perfectly into this Lou Lamoriello/Barry Trotz Islanders team.
(Those are all pretty vague statements, I know, well get to why that’s the case.)
He’s also right-handed. Currently, Jordan Eberle is the team’s top right-handed winger. (Mathew Barzal shoots right). And Jordan Eberle is likely gone this offseason. The Islanders are going to be short on quality on the right side.
Why Mark Stone
The obvious answer to “why Mark Stone” is because he’s a point-per-game player since the start of the 2017-18 season. Before that, his career low is 54 points in a single season. Including his rookie year where he scored 64 points and finished second in Calder votes. The guy can score.
But Mark Stone does more than put up points. Stone is one of the better players in the league at controlling the puck.
This season Stone has 53.5 percent Corsi-for and has a 15.5 relative Corsi-for. The Senators are absolutely dreadful at keeping the puck when Mark Stone isn’t on the ice. Their league worse 43.28 Corsi-for.
Stone is also great at creating possession off of an opponents stick. This season he ranks second in the league behind Aleksandar Barkov in terms of turnovers with 33. Over the last two seasons, he’s tied at 13 in takeaways with 92.
Add to that his incredible ability to generate puck possession in the neutral zone and Mark Stone is easily one of the better possession generating players in the league.
Average forward wins ~37% of their neutral zone puck battles. Mark Stone wins 68%. Dude is an animal.
— Andrew Berkshire (@AndrewBerkshire) November 27, 2018
At 6’4″ 219lbs Mark Stone is a big tough winger that would fit perfectly into the “tough-to-play-against” system that Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz are creating.
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Stone is going to ask for a lot of money as a free agent and Ottawa is going to ask for a ton in a trade. He’s absolutely worth it. The Islanders need to pursue Mark Stone aggressively.