The Vegas Golden Knights have to yet name the first Captain in franchise history and, when they are ready to do so, there is only one man for the job.
One of five NHL franchises currently without a Captain, the Vegas Golden Knights have done fine without one during their first two-and-a-half years in the league.
However, Golden Knights Head Coach Peter DeBoer made it clear that he’s a “believer in a captain” during a recent interview on the VGK Q&A Podcast for Season Ticket holders.
Just reading between the lines, it does seem pretty clear that the Knights are nearing making a decision on who the official leader of the franchise will be going forward.
Being an expansion team, not having a player with a “C” on their jersey has made perfect sense in that the Golden Knights have had a whole locker room of leaders.
Lead by committee if you like.
But, right in the middle of their Stanley Cup window and having already established themselves as a real hockey hotbed, now is the time for Vegas to catch up with the rest of the league by naming a Captain.
And Mark Stone should be that guy.
Acquired in a blockbuster trade from the Ottawa Senators at the 2018 NHL Trade Deadline, Stone quickly committed his future to the Golden Knights by signing a whopping eight-year, $76,000,000 contract.
Now, for all the arguments you can have about whether or not the front office will regret the length of that deal long down the road, the Knights were right to lock down Stone for the long-term.
After all, one of the true elite two-way forwards in the game, Stone has the ability to change the momentum of any game with a single play.
With the Golden Knights committed to winning right now, you need a star player and that’s exactly what Stone is.
Plus, signed through 2026-27 with a full No-Movement Clause in his contract, Stone is here to stay and you want some stability from a Captain.
Stone ticks that box perfectly.
He also leads by example on and off the ice and he lets his high-level of play do the talking rather than scream and shout.
Never taking a shift off, Stone gives it his all every single time he’s out on the ice and he also plays with his heart on his sleeve, hence the many memes we have been treated to.
Also a very composed talker in the locker room, Stone holds himself accountable and that is a very important quality to have as a leader of a franchise.
Smith just leads by example in how he talks and how he plays, and you can tell when watching games that his teammates follow the lead of their star forward.
Then there is the production side of things. While points aren’t necessarily conducive to becoming a model Captain, Stone’s hugely impressive body of work does say a lot about how he carries himself.
With 74 points (26 goals, 48 assists) in his first 83 regular season games for Vegas, including 63 points (21 goals, 42 assists) this year, Stone is a top-level playmaker who just thrives when the pressure is really on.
Take Stone’s first postseason experience with the Knights for instance when the winger had six goals and six assists for 12 points in seven games in 2018-19.
Impressive stuff indeed.
There’s Stone’s elite play in his own end too, where he has established himself as a Selke Trophy candidate year in and year out.
He racked up a remarkable 122 Takeaways last year while the 27-year-old can be counted on to make game-changing plays in his own zone when they are most needed.
All in all, Stone ticks all the boxes when it comes to looking at the intangibles that go into making a perfect Captain, and he’s the ideal role model for prospects given how he carries himself on and off the ice.
You never hear of any drama associated with Stone and the dude just lives and breathes hockey which is exactly what you want.
He’s also clearly heavily invested in the Golden Knights already and, having already worn an “A” on his chest for this franchise, making the transition to sporting a “C” on that jersey should be a seamless transition.
As such, should Peter DeBoer get his wish and the Vegas Golden Knights do name the first Captain in franchise history this off-season, then Mark Stone should be the guy receiving that honor.
He’s the perfect candidate in every single possible way.