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Stone Feels No Pressure At NHL Awards

VGK forward excited by Selke nomination, proud to be with other nominees

by Gordon Weigers @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

Vegas Golden Knights forward Mark Stone joined fellow NHL Award nominees Tuesday for media day ahead of the 2019 NHL Awards presented by Bridgestone.

Stone, a nominee for the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward, talked about how special it is to have hockey's season-end celebration in his new home.

"I'm excited to be here, especially in Vegas," Stone said. "Being part of the Golden Knights now, this is really special."

St. Louis center Ryan O'Reilly and Boston center Patrice Bergeron are the other two nominees for the Selke. Stone is the lone winger in the group, but he said he doesn't see his position as a reason that he shouldn't be a complete, 200-foot player.

"A lot of people say that centers have a bigger impact on the game, but now, it's more of a five-man unit in the game," said Stone. "You have to be able to play both center and wing a little bit to have success in this league."

Stone mentioned his admiration for the other two nominees, especially Bergeron who is a four-time winner. Having his name circulated in conversations with Bergeron, O'Reilly and the 29 players who have won the award previously is something that Stone considers special.

"To put yourself in that category is pretty cool," said Stone. "You look at the people who have won the award, they're some of the best players in the league."

While an award like the Hart Trophy celebrates the league's most valuable player and the Art Ross Trophy goes to the league's top scorer, the Selke Trophy is an award that takes a fine-tuned, all-around style of play to win. Stone said he's proud that he's being recognized for the areas of his game that he's worked tirelessly to hone.

Last year, the NHL Awards were memorable for the Golden Knights as William Karlsson, Deryk Engelland, Gerard Gallant and George McPhee as left with hardware. As Vegas' lone nominee this season, Stone wants to keep the tradition alive of winning a prestigious trophy as a member of the Golden Knights.

"I don't feel any pressure at all, I'm just here to have fun," Stone said. "Whatever happens, happens."

The awards that will be passed out Wednesday night at Mandalay Bay are for individual players and, while Stone is happy to be one of the individuals, he said he'd rather be celebrating a championship with his teammates.

"I think I'm going to have fun this week and I'm proud to be here, but the ultimate goal is to win the Stanley Cup," Stone said. "I'd rather be here hoisting that with 23 of my buddies."

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