Ottawa Senators Deadline: Grading the Mark Stone Trade

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TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 6: Mark Stone #61 of the Ottawa Senators skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs during an NHL game at Scotiabank Arena on February 6, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Senators 5-4. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Welcome back to another edition of Ottawa Senators Deadline. A series where we analyze every trade the Sens made. We have already looked at the Ryan Dzingel trade. As well as the Matt Duchene trade. You can find those here and here. Now, it’s time to take a look at the Mark Stone trade. Let’s take a look at every piece and what Ottawa could have done.

Mark Stone Trade

The Trade

Ottawa traded Mark Stone to the Vegas Golden Knights for Erik Brannstrom, Oscar Lindberg and a 2nd round pick. This trade came roughly 15 minutes before the deadline and was the main talk for most the day. Fans had some mixed feelings about it. Mark Stone almost immediately announced he was signing an extension with the Knights. That was eight years at approximately $9.5 million AAV.

Mark Stone

The Mark Stone trade was tough for Sens fans regardless of the return. This is because Stone was the heart and soul of this team. He is absolutely amazing and will kill it in Vegas. For Golden Knight fans, here is what you’re getting in Mark Stone.

On the offensive side of things, Stone has really come into his own. He is a heads up player who has managed to be over a point per game on two of the worst Sens teams in recent memories. He threw up 62 points this year and last year in 58 and 59 games. He’s had some clutch moments in Ottawa and will definitely help give the Knights an offensive spark.

As for defence, there may be no better winger than Stone. He is absolutely amazing defensively. The Mark Stone trade no doubt helps the 200 foot game in Vegas. Stone is one of the best forwards out there at forcing turnovers. His hand-eye is out of this world and it seems like he can bat any puck out if the air.

The Knights gave up a really good prospect in the Mark Stone trade, however, he is absolutely worth it.

Brannstrom

So, let’s take a look at the main return piece in the Mark Stone trade. Erik Brannstrom is the prospect that Ottawa got back. This is one of the biggest prospects we have seen move on Trade Deadline Day in recent memory. Brannstrom is likely as close as you can get to a “Blue Chip” prospect via trade.

He has seen comparisons to former captain Erik Karlsson for how he can pass and move with the puck. While that may be a bit of a stretch, it is no secret he is full of talent. He had a great showing in the World Jr Championships this year with Sweden. As well, he has been great with Vegas’s AHL team. He is known for is speed and play with the puck. His ability and hockey sense is amazing and he is full of skill.

Brannstrom and Thomas Chabot is a very good blueline to build around going forward. While he still needs to develop a little more, it is fair to say he could be very good very soon. However, let’s take a look at what else Ottawa got in the Mark Stone trade.

Lindberg

Next, we have Oscar Lindberg. This is where Pierre Dorion’s biggest problem in trades come in. Lindberg is a decent bottom-six player. He will definitely be on the Sens roster for this season. However, this is absolutely not the type of player Ottawa should be targeting. We saw it in the Karlsson and Mike Hoffman trades too. Dorion preferred to take mediocre roster players like Mikkel Boedker and Chris Tierney. When instead, they should be looking at more picks or prospects.

Take a player like Anthony Duclair for example. He is four years younger than Lindberg and has the potential to be part of the team’s future, even if it’s in a depth role. It’s very possible Lindberg isn’t even in the NHL in three or four years, let alone helping the Sens. Looking for more picks or prospects needs to be a must for Dorion. He needs to stop looking for “fine” bottom roster players.

2nd Round Pick Should Be More

The last piece in the Mark Stone trade is a 2nd round pick. Now, this had most people very upset Ottawa couldn’t get a first rounder. This seems fair enough that fans are mad. Especially, because Stone signed an 8-year extension almost immediately after being traded.

Something Ottawa could have done is look for more mid-round picks as well as conditional picks. It has been shown that the difference between a late first and a 2nd or 3rd round pick isn’t actually much when it comes to finding a star player. Meaning, teams are almost as likely to find star players with 3rd rounders than they are with late 20’s first rounders. So, Ottawa could have taken this and asked for a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th instead of a first. While it may not have looked as nice, the value may actually be more.

Another thing, it seems like a big failure on Dorion’s part he couldn’t work a signing condition in. He got one with the Duchene trade where if Duchene re-signs Ottawa gets another first. However, he got nothing for this. Even just an extra 2nd and 5th is something. Rebuilding teams should be looking for all the picks and prospects they can find. For Vegas, Brannstrom is a lot, but, when you consider it is actually 8.5 years of Stone, it really doesn’t seem like that much to give up.

Overall

Overall, it is easy to see how both teams sort of win in the Mark Stone trade. Vegas gets a top winger and I would argue top-15 player in the league. Ottawa knew they were not keeping Stone, which is a separate problem. However, getting a blue chip prospect for that is a huge win. In terms of the trade as a whole, for this to even be considered close to an “A”, Dorion would have needed to pick up more. Even if this was just multiple mid-round picks, that would have added some good value.

The Sens lose the best player in the trade but do manage to pick up a very good prospect. Brannstrom shoots straight to the top of Sens prospects. So, it wasn’t a total loss. Sens fans will no doubt be watching for Stone in the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year.

Overall Grade: B

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