We all know just how elite Mark Stone is for the Vegas Golden Knights, but is the two-way forward really appreciated by the rest of the NHL?
Scrolling through Twitter earlier today in search of any Vegas Golden Knights related news, a post by the official NHL account caught my attention with the league having run a poll among players to determine the most underrated player currently playing in the National Hockey League.
37 players voted and 22 different players received votes with Florida Panthers Captain Aleksander Barkov leading the way with seven votes, Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom received four votes, Logan Couture of the San Jose Sharks got three votes and Minnesota Wild blueliner Jared Spurgeon also received three votes.
And, what is interesting here is the fact that Vegas Golden Knights forward Mark Stone also received one vote in the poll, while also coming in for praise from Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane, who knows a thing or two about lighting up the NHL.
Check out Kane’s verdict, which was given to nhl.com, on why Stone deserves a lot more credit for the work he does in the National Hockey League below:
"“You wouldn’t watch him and be like, ‘This guy’s overly skilled or unreal,’ or one specific thing. He’s not an unbelievable skater, he doesn’t have an unreal shot, but he’s just really smart. And I think he’s obviously so good defensively, good at stripping pucks, taking pucks away, so I would say he’s pretty underrated.”"
Now, we agree with most of what Patrick Kane had to say although we do disagree with the comment about Stone not having an unreal shot or not being overly skilled.
While he may not have the deadliest release in the NHL or be as skilled in an obvious way say as someone in the ilk of Nikita Kucherov or Connor McDavid, Stone still has the capability to bamboozle a defense and he can certainly boast a wicked release when shooting the puck.
He will put up big numbers too and he’s been redhot to start the 2019-20 NHL regular season, potting six goals and tallying eight assists for 14 points with six points on the power play through 11 games.
Stone is also currently riding a seven-game point streak (three goals, four assists) and his elite playmaking ability has been there for all to see, which was perfectly illustrated against the Chicago Blackhawks when the right wing found Nick Holden with a delicious cross-ice pass to set the defenseman up for the tying goal late in the third period.
The 27-year-old is currently sitting inside the top 10 in the points leaderboard and is behind only Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson (20), Boston Bruins stud David Pastrnak (17), Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid (17) and Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (16).
He’s averaging 1.27 points per game and he’s an absolute savage in all aspects of the game, as displayed earlier this month when he dropped the gloves in a clash of the titans showdown against Nashville Predators Captain Roman Josi.
But it is not only in the offensive zone Stone thrives, with the wing an elite two-way forward who can play a real high-end 200-foot game.
Logging an average of 19:22 minutes of ice time per night through 11 games, Stone has blocked five shots, dished out four hits and he has nine takeaways already after leading the NHL in that category last year with 122.
Stone also has a 50.7 CF% and a 50.0 oZS% and he has been the driving force behind the Golden Knights’ 7-4-0 start to the regular season.
He’s the heartbeat of this team and he’s capable of turning the tide of a game with a single play, while he plays significant roles on both the power play and the penalty kill.
But, of the ten players that currently leads the National Hockey League in points, you very rarely hear too much hype about Stone and the brilliance he brings to the table on a night-to-night basis.
And that is wrong because Mark Stone is and should be considered one of the best two-way forwards in the NHL right now, and both the stats and the eye test suggests that he deserves a lot more credit from the hockey world.