Wednesday, January 13 will be a day long remembered for Winnipeg’s Mark Stone. Although seemingly a day like any other, the Vegas Golden Knights forward was called into head coach Peter DeBoer’s office for what he anticipated to be a ‘pre-season talk’. He walked out of the office a changed man.
“I honestly didn’t really think much of it, just thought maybe he was going to ask about the camp,” Stone said of the meeting. “He asked me if I was up for the opportunity to be the captain of this team. It’s a big honour and something I’m not going to take lightly. This is something I’m really excited to do.”
Stone, 28, arrived to Vegas via trade from the Ottawa Senators in 2019. This will be his third partial season with the team and will be entering the second year of an eight-year, $76 million contract he signed two summers ago.
“This is an organization I’ve always wanted to be a part of so to be able to be the first captain of this franchise it’s very honouring, very humbling and I’m excited to see where this team goes. I don’t think I’m going to change a ton. I’m an emotional player, very passionate about the game, and ultimately my main goal is to win the Stanley Cup, and I’m gonna for sure be preaching that to everybody.”
Last season the Winnipeg product put together 21 goals and 63 points in 65 games, placing him second in team scoring. In 83 total games with the Golden Knights, Stone has 26 goals and 74 points. He finished in the Top-5 in Selke Trophy voting the past two seasons.
Along with Stone, new offseason addition and former St. Louis Blues captain and 2019 Stanley Cup champion Alex Pietrangelo will join Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith as the team’s alternate captains for the 2020-21 season.
On top the captaincy news, Kelly McCrimmon’s Golden Knights also announced the roster makeup for opening night on Thursday at home against the visiting Anaheim Ducks. Interestingly, the team has opted to go with 13 forwards and five defencemen, meaning Dakota Valley Sioux Nation’s Zach Whitecloud will serve within that Top-5 and earn some bigtime NHL minutes.
Suiting up alongside Alex Pietrangelo, Shea Theodore, Alec Martinez and Brayden McNabb, the Brandon product will certainly be taken under the wing of some significant veteran leadership. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound 24-year-old skated in all 20 playoff games for Vegas last season, picking up two goals, and assist and six penalty minutes, while finishing as a positive plus/minus player.