To say that things aren’t exactly going great for the Ottawa Senators this offseason would be the understatement of the century. The whole “Mike Hoffman and Erik Karlsson” drama seems to be in the rear view mirror with Hoffman now a member of the Florida Panthers. But there’s still uncertainty surrounding Karlsson’s future and now, there’s some uncertainty regarding the future of two of the team’s youngest, brightest players. Yesterday news emerged that defenseman Cody Ceci is asking for a $6 million salary in arbitration, but that pales in comparison to the ask that Sporsnet reporter Elliotte Friedman is reporting that Mark Stone is asking for.
Check it out:
Wooooooooow! $9 million!? For the record, the largest amount ever awarded in arbitration was $7.5 million for Shea Weber when he was with the Nashville Predators.
To be fair, Stone is likely not expecting to get $9 million from the arbitrator but it’s not uncommon for a player to come in with an ask that’s on the high end. In the end, it’s likely that his value is somewhere in the $7 million to $8 million annual range. After all, Stone is a top five scoring winger in the NHL and actually outpaced superstar players like Alex Ovechkin, Johnny Gaudreau and Artemi Panarin last season.
Still… this is the Ottawa Senators we’re talking about. It’s not likely that owner Eugene Melnyk hands Stone a blank check anytime soon. Melnyk is without a doubt the stingiest owner in the entire NHL, so it’ll be interesting to see how things play out between Stone and the team during arbitration.
The 26 year old Stone scored 20+ goals for the fourth season in a row in 2017-18, potting 20 goals and 62 points in 58 games. Over the course of a full 82 game schedule he’s on a nearly 90 point pace. Not bad, not bad at all. Also, considering that Stone is almost always at the top of the league in takeaway statistics, he’s one of the best two way forwards in the game. He’s not just a point producer, he’s an effective all-around player.
By league rules Stone is only eligible to earn a one or two year deal via arbitration, which means that he could leave the team as an unrestricted free agent as soon as next offseason. Could you imagine!? Not only have the Senators lost impact players like Hoffman, Kyle Turris and Derick Brassard over the past year, but Karlsson and Stone could be on the way out, as well. Don’t forget that forward Matt Duchene is also an unrestricted free agent next offseason, as well. Oh… and goaltender Craig Anderson has reportedly requested a trade. What a mess.