Mark Stone wants everybody to take a step back and relax.
The Ottawa Senators’ veteran winger says there’s still plenty of time to work out a long-term contract to stay in the nation’s capital.
While there was no shortage of negative reaction among the fan base after the 26-year-old Stone signed one-year, $7.35-million deal with the club last Friday to avoid arbitration, he noted in an interview with this newspaper Wednesday that the door is wide open to continue contract talks when that door opens again in January.
No, the short-term deal wasn’t perfect, but it was a solution that bought both sides time to sit down in early 2019 to discuss what’s next without the negativity of an arbitration hearing clouding the talks.
The agreement was made only hours before the hearing was to begin, and there were extensive talks Thursday to try to get a long-term deal in place before GM Pierre Dorion tabled the offer that got this done.
“Everyone is looking at this and I think most fans are thinking this is pretty negative news,” Stone said. “I think both sides left Toronto happy that we still have the opportunity to work something out.
“Everybody knows the way that arbitration can go sometimes and the fact that both sides were able to leave on good terms is a good sign.”