Players come and go so frequently from NHL rosters, fans become immune to it.
To a point.
In every organization there is a single player, or a select few, whose departure represents a watershed moment in the club’s history.
Remarkably, the two most prominent departures in the history of the Ottawa Senators were both late sixth-round draft picks, both right wingers with out-sized hearts who blossomed from that lowly draft position to become franchise players.
We speak, of course, of Daniel Alfredsson and Mark Stone.
Stone, a Winnipeg native and power forward who couldn’t impress junior hockey scouts with his skating but is money in the NHL, will face his Senators pals for the first time on Thursday in Las Vegas. Stone signed an eight-year, $76-million US contract after being traded to the Knights at last year’s deadline and the weight of that contract has been… not an issue. Stone is en fuego in the early season. He leads Las Vegas with five goals, five assists in seven games, at times putting the team on his broad shoulders.
Speaking of which, Stone seems to have grown, or is it Sin City magic that he is now listed at six-four, 219 pounds in Vegas when he was six-foot-three, 210 in Ottawa? No matter, to fans in Ottawa he was already larger than life.