According to Golden Knights captain Mark Stone, he is expected to be fully recovered by training camp. It’ll be important for Stone to produce early on but the long-term should be the goal for Vegas.
We’re a veteran group so it’ll be nice to get the bodies healed and ready to go for the start of the season. Kind of prove that we’re good as we think we are. Got a little taste of humble pie this season and wasn’t fun to be a part of. -Mark Stone on Sirius NHL radio
With their most dangerous weapon gone, Stone will need to create offense in meaningful spots. Let’s face it, a $9.5M winger has to score on an empty net with the season on the line.
As we watched last season, failing to deliver in the clutch and a bevy of injured players were the main reasons why Vegas missed the playoffs. This season the goal shouldn’t just be to qualify for the playoffs but to be healthy when they get there as well. Vegas will need Stone’s presence throughout the season but mainly in the chase to 16 postseason wins.
Stone’s Last 9 Games in 2021-22
2 Points (1 Goal, 1 Assist)
0.22 Points Per Game
18 shots on net
18:57 Average Time Of Ice
12-3 Playoff Record When Stone Scores
6 goals vs San Jose (SJS wins 4-3)
2 Goals vs Chicago (VGK wins 4-1)
2 Goals vs Dallas (DAL wins 4-1)
4 Goals vs Minnesota (VGK wins 4-3)
1 Goal vs Colorado (VGK wins 4-2)
0 Goals vs Montreal (MTL wins 4-2)
Now, that Vegas’ front office jettisoned two natural goal scorers, Stone will need to pick up the slack. He’s not a sniper but fans have seen him score in bunches including in the playoffs. New coach Bruce Cassidy will undoubtedly rely on #61 for more offense this season. Building chemistry with center Jack Eichel should solve some of the team’s scoring issues.
For Vegas to succeed in 2022-23 their captain will obviously have to stay healthy. However, if Stone does miss time his teammates should be able to stay the course. Having a fully healed and productive team by April is all that matters to Golden Knights.
Everybody in that dressing room has to take a good hard look in the mirror and get back to the way things were done in the past and get back to our roots a little bit. We got to get back to being that hard working team out working our opponents. That’s when we’re allow our skill to take over. -Stone on Sirius NHL radio
There are several lengthy contracts on the Golden Knights roster and Stone’s is one of them. Has he lived up to his $9.5 AAV so far? It’s difficult to say. He’s registered 165 points in 175 games with Vegas but he’s also come up short postseason. Playoff points and ultimately wins are what highly-paid players are judged by. (Same goes for Jack Eichel.)
For Vegas’ desires to come true Stone will need to have a statement-type regular season and Cup-chasing leadership at the same time. It’ll be fun who watch see and Stone fool defensemen and create team offense. Just as long as they don’t miss any empty netters.