After a whirlwind first season, Sens rookie Mark Stone has been named as one of three players nominated for the 2015 Calder Trophy.
Stone finished the season tied for the rookie lead in points with Flames forward and fellow nominee Johnny Gaudreau at 64. His 26 goals tied him for second among first year players and trailed only teammate Mike Hoffman among rookie goalscorers. His +21 rating was also tops among rookies.
Stone talked briefly about his season earlier today but wasn't quick to point out that he wasn't finished just yet.
"I'm happy with the way my season went especially the last 3 months." said Stone. "It felt like I played some good hockey and helped my team win quite a few games. At the end of the day though, I'm just worried about Friday night."
From the NHL...
Mark Stone, Ottawa Senators
Stone, a sixth-round selection (178th overall) by Ottawa in 2010, recorded 26-38—64 to finish first in the rookie scoring race. That featured 14-21—35 dating to Feb. 10 (31 GP), including a rookie club record nine-game point streak to end the season (8-5—13). Stone capped his performance with two goals in the season finale to help the team complete its successful playoff drive. He also led all rookies in plus-minus (+21) and shared first in the League in takeaways (98). The 22-year-old Winnipeg native would become the second player in franchise history to win the Calder, joining Daniel Alfredsson in 1996.
Incredibly, Mark Stone also ended the regular season tied with Avalanche forward Ryan O'Reilly for the league lead in takeaways with 98, something that fellow Senators rookie Curtis Lazar says was a goal he had set for himself prior to this year.
"We were kind of joking around a bit and he said 'It'd be pretty cool if I could lead the league in takeaways' and low and behold, he did it. That just shows the type of player he is."
Lazar and Stone had briefly crossed paths in their junior careers out West before becoming teammates in Ottawa and Stone's high hockey IQ was apparent even back then.
"My first year in the Western Hockey League was his last and he put up like 120 points or so. You watched him play and it's his smarts back then that really stood out." said Lazar. "To see him piece it all together this year and get his skating figured out...he's worked so hard for what he's been able to accomplish."
"I can't think of anyone else who deserves the Calder more than him."
The winner will be announced Wednesday, June 24, during the 2015 NHL Awards from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Former Sens captain Daniel Alfredsson is the only Calder Trophy winner in franchise history as he laid claim to the award back in 1996.