MONTREAL -- Ottawa Senators forward Mark Stone is too worried about surviving in the Stanley Cup Playoffs to be overly concerned about his nomination for the Calder Trophy.
But the fact the Senators are in this position is a big reason why Stone will be going to Las Vegas for the first time for the NHL Awards. Stone, Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad and Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau were named finalists for the League rookie of the year award Thursday.
"It was a great feeling," Stone said Friday while preparing for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Montreal Canadiens (7 p.m. ET; CBC, CNBC, TVA Sports). "Just a little reward. To get some consideration is always nice. It's one of those things where you'll probably look back on it more in the summer than you would right now."
Stone's emergence is tied to the Senators' switch behind the bench from Paul MacLean to Dave Cameron on Dec. 8. As soon as the calendar flipped to 2015, Stone became one of the most potent offensive players in the NHL and helped drive the incredible push by the Senators to reach the playoffs. Between Jan. 1 and the end of the regular season, Stone was fourth in the League with 47 points, according to War-on-ice.com.
"I think he really just stressed for us younger guys to just play our game, don't worry the mistakes," Stone said of Cameron. "They're going to happen; just try to limit them. He's done a good job of putting guys into situations to succeed."
Cameron credited Stone's decision to stay in Ottawa last summer to train as a big reason why he is in this position, saying that work made Stone a quicker skater, long considered his biggest weakness.
That's why Cameron did not want to take any of the credit for Stone's emergence as an impact player under his watch.
"You don't have to watch Mark Stone very long to know how responsible he is on both sides of the puck," Cameron said. "You look at our team and he plays in all situations … and that's just simply because he plays on the right side of the puck. When you put up the offensive numbers he has and know that he's not cheating to get those numbers, that's a real credit to Mark Stone. He deserves the credit. Nobody else; he does."