With two right handed wingers from the 2013 Sens roster playing elsewhere in 2013-14 (Jakob Silfverberg and Daniel Alfredsson), the team will be looking for a player to step up and fill the void come opening night.
Among those looking to cement themselves as an everyday NHLer is Mark Stone who played a handful of games with the big club last season. As a natural right winger and — like Silfverberg and Alfredsson — a right handed shot, he will be in good shape to receive a long look from management come training camp.
He spoke to Bruce Luebke, play-by-play man for Stone’s former junior team, the Brandon Wheat Kings, during their annual hockey school. Here’s a snippet of what Mark had to say about the upcoming season and his NHL experiences thus far...
"It's different hockey. The guys are bigger, they're stronger, they compete harder...it's a different game. Sometimes in junior, you can get away with taking a night off but in pro hockey, you can't do that. You have to bring your best every single night."
"We had a really good team the first half, and I wasn't playing as much in the role that I wanted but I learned what it takes to play both ends of the game. Towards the end of the season, got put more into a scoring role and really was playing a top-six role over the last 20 games or so and was able to start producing."
"You saw what happened with us on July 5th, so there's a lot of opportunities for young guys to step in and play pretty big roles. I know they're going to give me an opportunity, it's just a matter of me taking advantage of it or not."
The time in Binghamton could prove to be what tips Stone into a role as a regular forward and potentially top six winger with the team. His defensive play has grown considerably over the last year and his mobility is quite a bit better than it was earlier on in his career. If he continues to make those strides as a player over the coming weeks and months, he will be in good shape to blossom into the big-bodied goal scorer role so many teams covet in the NHL.
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