NHL on NBCSN: Mark Stone has MVP potential for Golden Knights

Golden Knights stream
Getty

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2020-21 NHL season continues with Monday’s matchup between the Arizona Coyotes and Vegas Golden Knights. Coverage begins at 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

When you think MVP candidates at the start of every season you probably already have a very select group of names in mind.

Connor McDavid. Nathan MacKinnon. Leon Draisaitl. Nikita Kucherov when he is healthy. Maybe David Pastrnak or Artemi Panarin. Those are the players that are going to get the most preseason hype and be the odds on favorites, usually because of their point totals and the impact they make offensively. MVP winners typically finish near the top of the league in the scoring race. That’s just how the voting usually tends to work.

There is another name we should consider adding to that list, and it is Vegas Golden Knights winger Mark Stone.

[COVERAGE BEGINS AT 10 P.M. ET ON NBCSN]

Stone may not produce the same offensive numbers as the group mentioned above, but there are only a handful of players that are capable of impacting a game all over the ice the way he can.

He has truly become one of the league’s absolute best players, and one that should check every box for any MVP criteria.

Do you want the award to go to the best player? While he may not be on the McDavid or MacKinnon level in that discussion, he has not that far off of it when you take into account everything he does.

He is a top-tier player offensively and has been a point-per-game player for three years now. There have been 393 forwards that have logged at least 500 minutes of 5-on-5 ice-time over the past three seasons. Out of that group Stone is in the top-30 when it comes to total points, assists, and primary assists per 60 minutes, and is one of the league’s best possession drivers. When he is on the ice his team lives in the offensive zone and is typically outshooting, outchancing, and outscoring its opponents by a significant margin.

[2020-21 NHL on NBC TV SCHEDULE]

Do you want a player that impacts the game when he does not have the puck on his stick?

Well, Stone is almost universally regarded (by both objective and subjective analysis) as one of the league’s best defensive forwards, finishing in the top-five of the Selke Trophy voting in each of the past two seasons, including as the runner-up during the 2018-19 season. He is also a regular on the Golden Knights’ penalty kill. If he doesn’t have the puck, it is only a matter of time until he takes it from you and helps turn it into the offense the other way.

If you are of the belief that your MVP has to play on a contender, well, he checks that box as well. He is an impact player in all three zones, in all three phases of the game (even-strength, penalty kill, power play) for what is one of the best teams in the NHL and a top Stanley Cup contender. He is the best player on that Stanley Cup contending team and one of the main cogs in that machine.

Because he isn’t likely to be one of the league’s top-five scorers he seems to be an afterthought in that MVP discussion (if he is even in it all). That should not be the case given his overall impact and importance not just as an individual player, but for a team that has a legitimate shot to win the Stanley Cup. He very well might be a top-10 overall player in the league right now and as long as he continues that complete two-way dominance for an elite team, there is no reason for him to not be one of your top MVP contenders.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Scroll Down For:

    Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

    Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
    2 Comments

    BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

    The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

    “That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

    Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

    “It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

    In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

    “It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

    Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

    In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

    “We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

    Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

    Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

    Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

    Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

    Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

    TAKE NOTE

    The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

    Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

    UP NEXT

    Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

    Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

    Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
    0 Comments

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

    Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

    The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

    Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

    “We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

    Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

    The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

    The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

    Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
    0 Comments

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

    Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

    The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

    Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.

    Toronto’s Morgan Rielly placed on long-term injured reserve

    Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
    0 Comments

    TORONTO — The Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Morgan Rielly on long-term injured reserve with a knee injury.

    Rielly was hurt in a collision with with New York forward Kyle Palmieri early in the third period of Toronto’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Islanders at home.

    Rielly has no goals and 16 assists in 20 games this season and is averaging 23 minutes of ice time.

    Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said following practice that the 28-year-old Rielly doesn’t need surgery, adding there’s no firm timeline for his return beyond the minimum 24 days and 10 games required for going on long-term injured reserve.

    Toronto’s defense is also missing Jake Muzzin with a neck injury and T.J. Brodie with an injured oblique.