Logan Stanley has been a work in progress for many years under the care of True North Sports + Entertainment and the Winnipeg Jets. But at some point, progress is typically put on full display.
2021 marked five years since the Jets’ front office staff drafted the 6-foot-7, 230-pound blueliner 18th overall in the first round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. After a number of years of development, 2021 also marked the year of Stanley’s NHL debut.
Breakout Defensive Stalwart Logan Stanley Signs on for Two More Years
On Wednesday, the restricted free agent earned a new two-year contract with the club, that will keep him in Winnipeg Jets Aviator Blue until July of 2023. His contract is worth $900K annually – a nice raise from the base $750-800K generally offered following the conclusion of an entry-level deal.
“It obviously was my goal to get in the lineup and be a part of this team this year,” Stanley said as a reflection of his season. “That was something I was thinking about coming into camp, but we had a lot of bodies at first in training camp. We had eight guys on one-way deals. I just wanted to come in and work hard and see what I could do and it was definitely nice to get in some games this year and it’s definitely nice to try and help the team win in the playoffs.”
Stanley certainly did just that. Dubbed as ‘the only player who could score on Carey Price‘, Stanley’s “pucks on net” mindset certainly helped the Jets in a second-round struggle with the Montreal Canadiens. Managing to score two times, while blocking three shots and adding two hits in a 3-2 overtime loss, Stanley accounted for the final two goals of the Jets’ 2021 Stanley Cup Playoff campaign.
“I thought, personally, it was successful year for me,” Stanley said of the 2020-21 season. “I don’t think a lot of people had me playing for the Winnipeg Jets this year coming into camp. So it was my goal to make the team and play this year. So I achieved that. I think I had confidence in myself that I knew that I was going to be an NHL player. I just needed to stick with it and keep working on my game and getting better. I thought I had a good offseason last year and felt good coming into camp so still lots of places to grow with my game and I think I can take it to a whole other level so it was a good first year for me. Obviously, we would liked to have a little better result in the playoffs but I was happy with my season and it was a good start.”
According to 5-foot-11 teammate Nikolaj Ehlers, Logan Stanley is “a big boy”. The 25-year-old Ehlers has been a fixture in the Jets’ dressing room since 2015, so he is very familiar with fellow big-bodied defenders Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers – to name a few.
But Logan Stanley is a little different than those two former Jets. Born just two years after Ehlers, the 23-year-old Kitchener, ON. product stands 6-foot-7 and tips the scales at 230 pounds. According to the dashing Dane, Stanley is a guy who does just about as much in room as he does on the ice – and that’s saying a lot, because he covers a large area anytime he steps onto the playing surface.
“He’s an incredible guy in that locker room,” Ehlers said of Stanley. “He’s funny. He brings a lot to this team. Again, you learn so much every single year. He’s definitely learned. He’s learned a lot from the guys that have been in the league for a little bit, and he still learns a lot. He’s a guy that will talk to you about the game, about the plays, and do better next time. Having a guy like him on the team who is a huge presence out there, plays hard, blocks shots, does all the little things right. It’s fun for us and it helps us a lot.”
Entering the year as a first-round pick that had yet to see any NHL game action, many had begun to tout Stanley as a ‘bust’ after failing to make the team in each of his first four training camps. Even entering the 2020-21 shortened season, Stanley was not listed as a name to serve as a part of the team’s top-six defenders. But that all changed following his performance this past season. According to the Ontario resident, he has just be scratching the surface.
“This year, they got to know who I was as a player and a person,” Stanley said of his coaching staff. “Playing in some games this year and getting the confidence of them is huge going into next year. Knowing what kind of player I am, next year I want to come back and take on more responsibility and demand more out of myself. My conversations with them are good and we’re on the same page. I’m just going into the summer with confidence and you know, I’ve got to keep getting better, improve my skating and things like that. We’re on the same page and I’m excited for next season already.”
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Stanley, who lives near teammate Mark Scheifele during the offseason, actually put in significant work with the Jets’ leading point producer last summer, training nearly every day together as a pair as COVID restrictions allowed.
One thing that both Scheifele and Stanley share is a high hockey intelligence quotient. According to Stanley it is something he has been working on for many years.
“I think it started when I was younger,” he said. “I was always a bigger kid and couldn’t really move around that well, so I relied on that a lot when I was younger. It’s helped me now that my feet have caught up a little bit, and I’m still able to try and make some plays and hang on to the puck sometimes. So, I think it started when I was younger, but I think it’s also confidence in your abilities and just going out and trying to make plays sometimes.”
Finishing the regular season with a goal, four points, and 26 penalty minutes in just 37 games played, Stanley actually ranked second behind only Ehlers in plus-minus, while leading all NHL rookies with a +13 rating. He then began the playoffs with an assist on Dominic Toninato‘s game-winning goal in his first postseason game, before putting up a two-goal performance in the team’s final outing of the year.
Now having taken care of Stanley’s contract, Jets’ general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will now roll up his sleeves and turn his attention to that of fellow RFAs Andrew Copp and Neal Pionk, who are also both due for raises in terms of contracts for the 2021-22 season, and beyond.