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Stanley’s Stock Continues to Rise

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Winnipeg Jets defenseman Logan Stanley scored his first NHL goal in a 4–2 loss on Saturday, March 27 against the Calgary Flames. The goal was a thing of beauty. Stanley found himself alone in the slot with the puck on his stick during the second period where he went bar-down on Flames goalminder David Rittich.

The roar from Stanley and the cheers from his teammates told you everything you needed to know. This goal meant a lot for the rookie.

“It’s a pretty good feeling to get that one,” said Stanley after the game. “Something you dream of as a kid, playing your first NHL game and scoring a goal in the NHL. I’ve had some chances to score that haven’t went in. I try not to think about it that much. My primary job is to keep the puck out of the net. Just nice to get one past the goalie.”

The goal was long overdue for the 22-year-old defenseman. He was drafted eighteenth overall in 2016 and many watchers of the game wondered if he would ever turn into a full-time NHL player.

Stanley has been viewed as a long-term project because of his size. Towering at six-foot-seven and weighing 231 pounds, he’s known for his physicality and ability to clear the crease. He’s already demonstrated his offensive abilities with 36 shots on goal this season in only 23 games while averaging just over 12 minutes of ice-time.

His stock has continued to climb since training camp. At that time, Stanley seemed to fall back on the depth chart and had nearly zero chance of making the team. He didn’t practice with any of the top players and was virtually a lock to be reassigned to the Manitoba Moose.

Then he caught a break. Ehen Luca Sbisa was claimed off waivers and several key defenders were injured or taken out of the game due to COVID-related protocols, Stanley squeezed into the lineup. Since that time, he has grabbed the attention of head coach Paul Maurice, earning every minute of ice time he has received.

“Pleasant surprise,” said Maurice when asked to describe Stanley’s play this season. “Enjoy watching his confidence grow and the quality of game. There are not a lot of big men that can go bar-down like that. We think we have a really good find here and we are really happy with where he is at.”

Stanley and the Winnipeg Jets would have preferred a different result in the loss to Calgary, but the game will nonetheless be one Stanley remembers for the rest of his life.

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