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Some of the cap information given is a bit confusing, so here is what Cap Friendly shows for projected cap room and actual current cap room, meaning all of these teams should have plenty of room:
Nobody wants to talk about it. But let’s be real: there’s a better than 50% chance that Mark Stone is no longer an Ottawa Senator in two weeks time. How it got to this stage is incomprehensible, but this is the reality we are living in. There is no reason why he shouldn’t be kept around during the rebuild (and after it once the team is good again) but that might not matter if he is unwilling to re-sign with a dysfunctional franchise.
With that being said, let’s take see who could be looking at Mark Stone in a trade before the deadline. Suffice it to say, there is no shortage of suitors.
This is the obvious name, as the Jets have been connected to him since his name hit the rumour mill. They have just over $5.6M in cap space, meaning they would have to send back at least about $1.75M in salary to Ottawa, or move that money in a separate deal. They own five out of their seven picks in the 2019 draft, missing their 3rd and 7th. In terms of right wing depth, they currently have Blake Wheeler, Jack Roslovic, Brandon Tanev, and Mason Appleton, so although their forward corps is very deep, they would still have room for Stone in the top-six.
NHL players who could be of interest include Roslovic and Appleton, and prospects of note include defenseman Sami Niku and Kristian Vesalainen, and goaltender Eric Comrie. As with all of these potential Stone packages, I would expect something along the lines of a 1st round pick, a very good prospect or young NHL player, plus either another less valuable pick (2nd or 3rd) or a lesser prospect. In this case, Vesalainen, a 1st, and a 3rd would be good value for Ottawa, but the Jets might not want to do that. They have to be the most obvious fit overall.
The Flames have just over $1.5M in cap space, so a deal with them would be even trickier. They do not own a 2nd or 6th round pick this draft, but they do have their 1st. Their right wingers include Elias Lindholm, Michael Frolik, James Neal, and Garnet Hathaway, meaning Stone would instantly become their bona fide top right winger. For NHL players that could be moved, some of them might have to have larger cap hits than usual. So that means Michael Frolik, Mark Jankowski, and Sam Bennett are options, but none of them are great pieces for a rebuilding team. For players on their entry-level contracts, Oliver Kylington, Rasmus Andersson, Dillon Dube, Juuso Valimaki, Andrew Mangiapane, and Jon Gillies (not entry level, but two-way contract) are intriguing as well.
The Flames could actually offer a decent package that includes Dube, Kylington/Valimaki/Andersson, and a pick. There is no shortage of options, although they are lacking in terms of NHL talent, plus the cap space problem complicates things. Their name has been mentioned in connection to Stone though, so I’d be watching them closely.
Vegas Golden Knights
The Knights have ~$3.5M in cap space, but they can easily place David Clarkson on LTIR, which would give them about $8.8M in space, making a deal for Stone quite easy. Along with their regular picks, they own three 3rd rounders and three 5th rounders, but have no 6th or 7th in the draft. Their right wing depth chart includes Alex Tuch, Reilly Smith, Valentin Zykov, and Ryan Reaves. Tuch and Smith are solid players, but pushing Smith down to the third line would make the Knights much more lethal. There really aren’t any players on their roster that the Knights would be willing to give up and are also worthwhile to acquire for the Senators. Interesting players like Shea Theodore and Colin Miller just aren’t going to be moved by a team looking to make a playoff push.
However, in terms of prospects, Cody Glass, Erik Brannstrom, Nicolas Hague, Lucas Elvenes, and Jack Dugan could be looked at. Considering Vegas didn’t want to give up Glass in an Erik Karlsson trade, it’s unlikely he will get moved. However, I think Brannstrom and/or Hague are realistic targets, and either one of them would be a nice addition to a thin blueline. Brannstrom, a 1st, and a 2nd?
The Predators have about $6.2M in cap space, which would almost be enough on its own to acquire Stone. They have no 2nd rounder and an extra 4th rounder in the draft. Their right wingers include Viktor Arvidsson, Craig Smith, Ryan Hartman, and Calle Jarnkrok, so nobody out of that group is bad, but Stone would easily be the best amongst them. Just like Vegas, there really aren’t any NHLers that are bad enough for them to be willing to give them up but good enough for Ottawa to be interested in them.
For prospects, Eeli Tolvanen and Dante Fabbro are the two biggest fish, with smaller names like David Farrance, Yakov Trenin, Patrick Harper, and Frederic Allard being options as well. Any deal with Stone would have to include one of Tolvanen or Fabbro, even though Tolvanen would seem like a hefty price to pay for a rental. If David Poile is desperate enough to get this team over the hump, I wouldn’t count it out. The Predators don’t have very exciting assets, but I’m sure they will be asking about Stone.
The Bruins have a ton of top-end talent, but their depth forwards are producing nothing. Getting Stone would give them two of the best right wingers in the game (him and David Pastrnak), and that would allow Danton Heinen and David Backes to stay in the bottom six. The Bruins have about $4.2M in cap space and have a draft pick in every round this year. The only NHL player who stands out as a possible trade candidate is defenseman Matt Grzelcyk.
Some interesting prospects include Ryan Donato, Urho Vaakanainen, Trent Frederic, Anders Bjork, Jakub Zboril, and Jack Studnicka. I’m not sure if they would be willing to give up Donato or Vaakanainen, but Ottawa might not want to take a package centred around anybody else listed. The Bruins window is right now though, so perhaps they can be persuaded because they desperately need more depth amongst their forwards.
Obviously, almost every team making the playoffs could use Stone and would have enough room to fit him into their lineup, although some will have to make the financials work. In fact, I could have included even more teams on this list such as the Dallas Stars (Denis Gurianov, Roope Hintz, Ty Dellandrea, Adam Mascherin), New York Islanders (Bode Wilde, Noah Dobson, Kieffer Bellows, Devon Toews), and Columbus Blue Jackets (Liam Foudy, Vitaly Abramov, Jonathan Davidsson), because they all make some sense too. Some teams are more likely destinations than others, and I feel like it is more likely that he goes to a Western Conference team. But then again, it’s a real guessing game here, because there haven’t been too many specifics in terms of who would be pushing the hardest for his services.
Any team firmly in a playoff spot should be looking to trade for Stone because he is still incredibly underrated, and whoever gets him will be over the moon with their acquisition. Although there is an alternate reality where he somehow decides to re-sign, and I don’t blame you for holding out hope...