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Photo Credit: © Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

What the Heck Happened With Mark Stone?

It was the perfect match. Stone, born and raised in Winnipeg, was virtually guaranteed to be dealt by the Senators before the deadline. The Jets were looking for a high-end forward and had the assets to acquire someone of Stone’s stature. To top it all off, Pierre Dorion and scouts pitched a tent built an igloo in Winnipeg and watched nearly a week of Jets and Moose action. All of these things happened and not one trade was made between the two clubs?!?

Even further, the Sens turnaround and trade Stone to Vegas? The very team that eliminated the Jets last season. It can’t get much worse than that.

Not to say that we’re bitter at all. I truly believe Hayes is a great fit on the second line, although Mark Stone looked awfully nice in a Jets sweater.

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So what actually happened on trade deadline day, and why didn’t a deal get done?

While we probably will never find out what truly happened, let’s take a guess using what we know.

The Jets and Sens were rumoured for weeks to be working towards a deal on either Duchene or Stone. After Duchene got dealt four days before the deadline, Stone was the obvious target for Winnipeg.

An interesting thing to note is that the Bobfather mentioned two days before the deadline that teams were complaining about the price of Stone being way too high.

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The price of Stone seemed like the thing holding the Jets back from making a deal. The Senators were likely fielding multiple calls leading up to the deadline and they believed they could get a better price from someone other than Winnipeg as the deadline drew closer.

The price is still largely unknown but rumours included either Vesalainen, Roslovic, or Niku +1st round pick + prospect.

In the mind of Cheveldayoff, he likely had a price he was willing to pay and wouldn’t compromise it. He wasn’t going to overpay just because multiple teams wanted in on Mark Stone.

Then, as the trade deadline day actually began, something interesting happened. The Senators didn’t trade Stone.

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Well, they did, just not at the beginning. This delay in trading Stone drastically affected the market as the day moved on. The Jets were stuck because they wanted Stone, but they had so many other deals they wanted to get done that they needed to make a move. The largest piece is always the easiest to build around because the Jets wouldn’t want to give up an asset elsewhere when they could have used that asset to potentially trade for Stone. In the Jets mind, they needed their big piece done early because they needed to shore up the defense and the depth later on.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Sens wanted to wait as long as possible in hopes that someone would finally overpay just to get a deal done. This is a risky move by Ottawa because some teams, like Winnipeg, couldn’t afford to wait around all day and keep offering deals. This lead to the observation that Ottawa might wind up with less, or perhaps nothing, for Stone because they were trying to play ‘hard to get’.

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In the end, the Jets needed to make a deal ASAP, so they had to leave Stone on the table and turn elsewhere for help. With Hayes in place, Cheveldayoff could go on with the rest of his day and bring in the other depth pieces. Dorion wanted to stretch the process as long as possible, waiting for someone to finally slip up and offer way too much just to get Stone off the market. In the end, Vegas was the one who got Stone, although the return was a little underwhelming. It seemed that the Senators did in fact wait a bit too long and had to make a deal with Vegas even if there were better offers made earlier in the day. It could definitely be argued that Roslovic, Stanley, and a 1st round pick is more valuable than what Vegas ended up sending away.

Vegas did have to give up their prized prospect Brannstrom, but they were able to only deal away a second round pick along with that. They also gave up Lindberg, who has little value compared to the other assets. Some would say Vegas got away with a steal, considering they didn’t even have to give up a first round pick.

Even if that’s the case, the Jets couldn’t stay in the Stone sweepstakes because of the other deals they needed to get done as well. This was made worse with the Morrissey injury as Chevy had to acquire even more help on the blueline.

Most fans thought a deal was going to get done between the Jets and Sens but in the end that wasn’t the case. The Jets needed to scratch their top six forward of their list first while the Sens were content to wait until the best offer came around. It was Vegas who won the jackpot and now a potential playoff matchup becomes even more intriguing given their history.

To answer the question of what happened with Stone, it appears that Chevy couldn’t afford to wait while Dorion couldn’t afford not to. Everyone thought a deal could be had between these two, but it was this core difference that kept them apart.