Ottawa Senators: Bobby Ryan’s Loss Should be Mark Stone’s Gain
On Friday night, the Ottawa Senators suffered a deflating 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers.
While the loss hurts for the suddenly struggling Sens, the loss of star winger Bobby Ryan is even more deflating.
The Senators star suffered a broken finger after a slash by Florida Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell. No official timeline is set for Ryan’s return.
As per the Ottawa Sun‘s Bruce Garrioch:
Bobby Ryan has broken finger. He’s out for tonight. No length given. #Sens
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) November 29, 2014
Though Garrioch has cautioned that Ryan hasn’t officially been ruled out for the Senators game on Tuesday, Ryan will likely be slowed by the injury to the finger for some time. While Ryan is recovering, another Sens forward must step up to fill a role as a scoring winger.
Ottawa Senators Forward Mark Stone Should Fill Ryan’s Role
That’s where Mark Stone comes in.
So far this season, Senators coach Paul MacLean has been reluctant to use Stone heavily. Stone ranks 15th on the Senators for time on ice (TOI) and his 211:30 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time is less than half of Erik Karlsson’s 437:23 TOI.
However, Stone has made the most of his limited playing time. The young winger ranks second on the team in Corsi For percentage (52.6 CF%) and has managed an impressive 16.7% shooting percentage despite registering only ten points in limited ice time. In contrast, Ryan has compiled the third-worst CF% for the Senators (43.6%) and has a career-low 10% shooting percentage.
A look through Stone’s minor league and junior experience suggests that 6’2″, 205 lbs. forward has much more to offer if his opportunities increase.
During his last two seasons in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings, Stone scored 229 points in 137 games. Stone added ten points in six games during a strong performance at the World Junior Championships in 2011-12. Stone followed up his high-scoring minor league career with a strong year in Binghamton last season, registering 15 goals and 38 points in 54 games, while maintaining a commendable 17.6% shooting percentage.
With an impressive minor league history and very positive possession stats in the NHL this year, Mark Stone is ready for a larger role during Bobby Ryan’s absence.
For Ottawa Senators fans, Bobby Ryan’s loss may not be only Mark Stone’s gain. After Ryan’s mediocre start to the season, extra minutes for Stone may be beneficial for the Ottawa Senators overall.
What do you think Sens fans? Are you excited to see what other Ottawa Senators forwards can do with extra playing time while Bobby Ryan recovers from injury?