Mark Stone undoubtedly was disappointed following the events that took place at the 2015 NHL Awards extravaganza that took place in Las Vegas on Wednesday night. That feeling didn’t last very long.
After failing to take home the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie, Stone received some great news Thursday morning as he received a three-year contract extension from the Ottawa Senators. The 23-year-old, who was scheduled to become a restricted free agent, will make $2.25 million next season, $3.75 million the following campaign and $4.5 million in 2017-18.
“Very happy to be staying in Ottawa for three more years!” Stone said on his Twitter account. “Mika Zibanejad and I are excited for what the future holds!!”
Zibanejad and the Senators agreed on a two-year extension, the team also announced.
A sixth-round pick in the 2010 draft, Stone made his NHL debut during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, notching an assist against the New York Rangers in Game 5 of their first-round series. He appeared in four games during the 2012-13 regular season but failed to register a point.
Stone skated in one game that postseason and recorded four goals and four assists in 19 contests in 2013-14, still maintaining his rookie status. He broke through in a big way this past season, finishing second on the team with 26 goals (one behind fellow rookie Mike Hoffman) and tied for second with Kyle Turris with 64 points – two back of captain Erik Karlsson.
“Mark became one of our better players, if not one of the best, right at the end of the year in particular, but throughout the stretch run and when we were trying to make the playoffs,” Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray told reporters. “We feel he still has growth in him, but we also know going forward that he’s going to be a very important player if the organization is going to make strides to a championship.”
His point total also knotted him with Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames for the league lead among rookies. Both were finalists for the Calder Trophy but lost out to Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who received 1,147 points – including 71 first-place votes – to Stone’s 1,078 (47) and Gaudreau’s 1,026 (33).
Stone not only scored for the Senators, he displayed an ability to score big goals. He and Turris led the club with six game-winners, with the native of Winnipeg netting a team-best two in overtime.
The six winning tallies tied him for the NHL rookie lead with Anders Lee of the New York Islanders and Nashville Predators budding star Filip Forsberg, who also scored twice in overtime.
Stone managed to collect only four assists during Ottawa’s six-game loss to the Atlantic Division champion Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs. But the right wing was playing hurt, as he suffered a fractured wrist when slashed by Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban in Game 1.
The Senators made a late charge to capture the top wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference in 2014-15, going 6-0-1 over their final seven games to finish with 99 points. And with Stone part of a group of youngsters that includes Hoffman and Curtis Lazar, the future certainly looks bright in Canada’s capital.