Ahead of the 2016 NHL Draft, Elite Sports NY profiles a big-bodied blueliner whispered to land with the New York Islanders.Size matters, but not as much as it did in 2010, when both Dylan McIlrath (6-foot-5) and Jarred Tinordi (6-foot-7) were first-round selections.
Logan Stanley, a developing 6-foot-7, 220 pound defenseman with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League, was ranked 23 in NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings.
He’s also been mocked to land with the New York Islanders at the 2016 NHL Draft.
At the ’15 event, no D-Man 6-foot-4 or taller was taken in the first round. There’s a profound sense of curiosity surrounding Stanley that stems from that crucial fact.
Although Isles general manager Garth Snow has displayed prior tendencies to shy away from picking big-bodied blueliners, Stanley’s being molded into a shutdown defenseman with a modicum of modern-game finesse, as Neate Sager put it in an article for Sportsnet.
At the combine, he finished chieftain in the category of Aerobic Fitness: Test Duration and was among the leaders in a couple of other pigeonholes as well.
"Overall I thought it went well." Fresh off the Wingate bike test, Logan Stanley reflects on his #NHLCombine week.https://t.co/kIpXrfe6Vb
— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) June 4, 2016
Stanley can undoubtedly be categorized as the following: a work in progress. A former teammate of heralded Isles prospect Joshua Ho-Sang on Windsor, Stanley has been heeding the advice of teammates and coaches as he attempts to hone his talents to the professional level.
“As a big guy, you have to be physical and have a good active stick,” Stanley said during the OHL season. “Just because I am big doesn’t mean I am exempt from other parts of the game. I have to be able to skate and move pucks and play with some skill. I’ve tried to work on that part.
“Having Rocky [Thompson] as my coach and [Spitfires assistant coach] Trevor [Letowski] has helped me a lot,” Stanley added. “They help me with parts of my game… Rocky has worked on me with playing a simple game, being about defence and puck moving, letting the other part develop naturally. Early in the year I was just trying to jump up at the right time and was not picking my spots well.”
Coaches have seen a progression in his two-way game. As a rookie in 2014-15, he tallied a dismal four points in fifty-nine contests. Just a season later, he accumulated seventeen points, including five goals.
It’s been noted that Stanley plays with a ton of grit and determination — maybe even too much, if that’s possible. While not afraid to get in the dirty areas or drop the gloves, he did amass 103 PIM — more than any draft eligible skater in the entire OHL.
Two of Stanley’s biggest idols — Zdeno Chara and Shea Weber — are big-bodied blueliners with shutdown prowess. While he has much of the defensive acumen that the duo possesses, he’ll need to round out his two-way game, learn how to stay out of the penalty box and improve on his poor-puck decisions if he wishes to garner some of the same success.
If not, he’ll end up how Mark Edwards of the Hockey Prospect Black Book (June, 2016) describes him:
“I was not a big fan of Stanley going into this season. I give him big props for how much he’s improved, possibly the most improved player in the draft class. That said, he lost me a bit in the second half of the season. I saw more turnovers and poor puck decisions. Based on my discussions with numerous scouts late in the season, I was not alone having him as a bit of a faller. Best way I could describe my conversations about him in the second half of the season is that scouts seem to either love him or have very little time for him.”