Senator's Bartherson becomes a better version of Mark Stone - Sports1
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Senator’s Bartherson becomes a better version of Mark Stone

The 2018-19 season was a decisive one Senator of Ottawa. They learned from three key players namely Erik Karlsson, Matt Duchene and Mark Stone. So far they have been able to find suitable replacements for two of them. Thomas Chabot has been their offensively talented defenseman, and Josh Norris has been a solid center for their top six.

Now, with Derek Barson, they have a solid wing who can score and quickly become a superstar. In fact, Barson and Stone had very similar career trajectories, starting with the draft, and they were both selected by the Senators after the third round (121st and 178th, respectively). Let’s see how the two compare.

Statistical Similarity Between Batherson and Stone

An easy way to compare the two wingers is to look at the similarities in their production at age 22 and 23. As far as points go, the numbers are pretty similar. Barson scored 62 points in 80 games over the past two seasons, while Stone scored 125 points in 155 games between 2014 and 2016. Barson’s scoring average (P/G) is 0.78, while Stones produce 0.81 P/G.

Ottawa Senator Mark Stone (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)

In the same 80 games, Basenson penalized opponents with 157 hits, while Stone had 104 hits in 155 games. There’s another shift in the stats when it comes to takeaways and giveaways, with Stones sitting at +129, while Basson sits at -18 (minus giveaways from takeout). So a key difference between the two is Batson’s body laying ability, while Stone seems to use his stick more to extract the puck from opponents.

Looking at the advanced stats, the similarities continue. Starting with Fenwick’s Percentage (FF%), which measures the difference in shot attempts across all situations, including missed shots but excluding blocks, Barson’s FF% over the past two seasons was 53.8%, while Stone’s 22%. Age 23 and 23 were 53.3% seasonal.

This metric is further personalized when you adjust for the relative Fenwick percentage (FF% rel), listing the percentage difference between a player’s Fenwick and their team’s off-ice Fenwick, with Batherson showing his value.He has a 10 FF% relative, while Stone comes in at 7.5 FF% (all stats from Hockey Reference Network).

Drake Batherson Ottawa Senator - Senator's Batherson becomes a better version of Mark Stone
Ottawa Senator Derek Bassenson (Jess Starr/hockey writer)

Both of these metrics are flawed, but they approximate a player’s ability to drive the game, as players who create more shots tend to score more than their opponents.

Similarities between Bartherson and Stone on ice

One of the things that strikes me when I watch Barson play is his ability to make simple and effective plays. He doesn’t always bring a ton of flash, but he knows where the puck needs to go and plays quickly. This speaks to his hockey IQ and knowledge of how to develop the most dangerous scoring chances.

related: Revisiting Mark Stone’s Golden Knights deal

It could also be Stone’s signature business card. He rarely brings any sparkle or dazzling drape, instead using solid stance and ingenuity to make simple plays that yield results.

Also, just because these two are doing smart play most of the time, doesn’t mean they aren’t creative, especially when creative play is the right play. Take this play by Bassen for example:

As two players approached him, he placed a silky plate, and when the puck came back to him, he snapped the cross seam of the puck, opening the opportunity for a power play. One pass showed his creativity, another showed smart play, creating danger in quick fashion.

Another thing Batherson and Stone share is the consistency and balance of their scoring. Both players have the ability to score goals and the vision to create great chances and assists for their teammates. Plus, they carry it with them every night, showing their passion for winning whenever they find the score sheet. If you watch them day in and day out, you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Barson’s future

Mark Stone has struggled to be consistent in the playoffs, with some years scoring more than a point per game and others seemingly disappearing from the scoring chart over and over again.

Batherson has yet to get a taste of what an NHL playoff game is like. Playoff hockey is usually when the physical game intensifies as teams load up with bigs and every player completes their checks. I don’t think he’ll have any problem playing in the playoffs because he’s shown he’s not afraid to use his body.

Drake Batherson Ottawa Senator - Senator's Batherson becomes a better version of Mark Stone
Ottawa Senator Derek Barsonson (Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

In the first half of the season, Barsonson outscored Stone with 28 points, compared with Stone’s 24. There’s no reason he can’t and won’t continue his success and show Senators fans why they should be hopeful for the future. Stone may have the better defensive game and is arguably the best defensive lineman in the NHL, but Barsonson also has the ability to support that side of the ice.he already Training with Sidney Crosby And Nathan McKinnon in the offseason, they’re both great all-rounders.

Whether or not he develops into a perennial Selke candidate like Stone, he has the ability to be a superstar now and for the next 10 years. If the Senators can keep the lineup of Tkachuk, Norris and Batherson during this time, fans should expect big things from this group.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment!

Writer and hockey fan from the GTA, covering the Ottawa Senator. Leafs fan moved to BC from birth to explore the mountains and find the strength to keep cheering. Loves to talk about prospects, potential and coaching strategies.

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