Mark Stone is so incredibly talented at hockey that it isn’t even funny anymore.
Okay, so that is hardly a secret given that Mark Stone has been tearing it up in the National Hockey League for a considerable amount of time now, but the Vegas Golden Knights forward really is elevating his game to whole new levels in the early stages of the 2020-21 season.
The Golden Knights are 4-0-0 to start the year and a lot of their early success is down to their franchise forward, who has truly put this team on his back and willed them to a perfect start at times.
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Stone currently leads the entire NHL in points with seven (2 G, 5 A) in four games with two-game winning goals, while he became only the fourth player in NHL history to register a point on four consecutive game-winning goals, underlining his importance to the Golden Knights both this season and in the bigger picture.
Despite their perfect start, the Knights haven’t always looked great and they’ve been guilty of putting up a couple of sloppy periods which has put them in difficult situations, but Stone has always been there to come up with a huge play to help bail out his team and drag them over the finishing line.
There was his ability to steal the puck straight from the opening faceoff in Overtime of Vegas’ second game of the year against the Anaheim Ducks, biding his time before firing a sublime pass over to Max Pacioretty who buried the one-timer to win the game.
Stone scored the game-winner in a 5-2 win against the Ducks in the Knights’ opening game of the season, beating John Gibson with a snipe less than a minute into the third period. He also scored the game-winning goal against the Arizona Coyotes last night, executing a sublime move to go to his forehand and beat Darcy Kuemper with an absolutely filthy move.
Those kind of highlight-reel plays are typical Stone who boasts an elite ability to be able to make game-changing plays in all three zones without breaking so much as a single bead of sweat. He just makes the game of hockey look so easy and effortless to play, while giving each and every single game everything he’s got, leaving every ounce of blood, sweat and tears out on the ice.
That’s why the Golden Knights made their elite two-way forward the first Captain in franchise history, and that’s why Mark Stone is one of the most respected players in the entire National Hockey League. He may be earning $9.5 million per year but that doesn’t stop Stone from throwing his body in the way of shots, sacrificing his body for the good of the team and hustling at all times.
He already has seven hits and six Takeaways on the season, while his dynamic line with Max Pacioretty and Chandler Stephenson have scored five goals and allowed none at even-strength through four games. Plus, Stone’s Shooting Percentage is at 25.0 percent to start the year, and he also boasts a CF% of 55.8 and a oZS% of 51.4 percent.
Basically, Stone has somehow found a way to discover another gear in his game and it seems that wearing the “C” on his chest has motivated him to produce the best hockey of his career so far, with his superior efforts propelling the Golden Knights to a perfect start and cementing their reputation as a true juggernaut.
Able to make game-changing plays at both ends of the ice, lead by example with how he puts his body on the line and, as we saw on Wednesday night, boasting the kind of unique and elite skill that very few players have in their arsenal, Mark Stone is one of the most talented players in the entire National Hockey League and he could well be on track for a career-year given his hot start, while this current level of play will only push the Vegas Golden Knights that step closer to achieving their ultimate aim of winning the Stanley Cup.