By Carter Brooks
Photo by Jean Levac
On Friday morning, the Ottawa Senators and forward Mark Stone came to a one-year, $7.35 million contract agreement, thus truncating the arbitration process, in the knick of time.
Set to present their cases in front of an independent arbitrator Friday morning, the two parties came to an agreement in the early hours of the morning, with Stone signing the dotted line just hours before the hearing was set to begin.
Following an exceptionally productive five NHL seasons, Stone paced himself at over a point-per-game in 2017-18, recording 20 goals and 62 points in 58 games for the Senators. The 26-year-old has produced 20+ goals in each of his last four NHL seasons. The former Winnipeg Thrasher has now dressed in 307 career NHL games and has 95 goals and 249 points to his name - all coming with Ottawa.
After formally requesting $9 million in salary during the arbitration process, Stone sat back and watched General Manager Pierre Dorion present Ottawa's offer of $5 million to his agent - less money than Washington's enforcer Tom Wilson is making. Although originally $4 million apart, Dorion and Stone were able to meet somewhat in the middle, locking the productive winger up for one more season at a cap hit of $7.25 million.
With Stone now 26, this one-year deal will be the first contract in which he leaves the deal an unrestricted free agent. Unfortunately for Ottawa, with it only being a one-year styled contract, the Senators, Stone and his agent will only be able to begin negotiations on an extension after January 1st, 2019.
Ottawa also received news from their other arbitration case Friday, as defenceman Cody Ceci was awarded a $4.3 million contract after pleading his case in front of his own independent arbitrator earlier in the week. The Senators have a 48 hour window following the ruling to decide if they will honour the judge's decision, or if they will let their former RFA walk.