Windsor defenceman Logan Stanley might be the biggest player selected at his position in the 2016 NHL Draft.
At 6-foot-7 and 220 pounds, Stanley is an immovable object and tough to miss. He plays with an edge which has the evaluators at NHL Central Scouting even more excited for what the future may hold for the Waterloo, ON native.
"He's an animal," said Windsor defence partner Mikhail Sergachev. "He's big, strong and hard to play against."
Stanley knows that playing with an edge sometimes has its consequences, but he's more than willing to oblige if it means coming to the defence of a teammate.
"I think playing with an edge is a big part of my game and big part of why I'm [in Windsor]," Stanley said. "I think it's fun to play that way. That's the way I've played for most of my career, so I'm going to keep doing it. No sense in stopping now."
According to hockeyfights.com, Stanley had six fights in 2014-15 and has taken part in five fights this season. Stanley played in the Waterloo Minor Hockey Association in 2013-14 with the Waterloo Wolves Minor Midget team. It was there when he began to open some eyes with his tough style and ability to defend well against the rush.
Stanley was selected in the first round (No. 12) of the 2014 Ontario Hockey League draft by Windsor. He had four assists and 60 penalty minutes as a rookie in 2014-15, and has set career highs this season with five goals, 17 points, 103 penalty minutes and 104 shots on goal in 64 games.
"He's mobile and very tough to beat 1-on-1," NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr said. "He has a good understanding of his position, has a good stick-to-puck technique utilizing his size and long reach, and plays with authority. He's very composed under forecheck pressure and is able to make that good first pass out of the zone."
Stanley is No. 19 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters eligible for the 2016 draft. He appreciates Nashville Predators defenceman Shea Weber (6'4", 236 lbs) for the way he utilizes his body to his advantage.
"I know there aren't many spots available among defencemen in the NHL so I'll need to continue developing my game from defence to offence," Stanley said.
Stanley wears No. 17 since that's the number worn by his cousin, Washington Capitals forward Michael Latta.
"I've known him my whole life, he's my little cousin … well not so little anymore," Latta told NHL.com. "He always loved the game and I think his rookie season in the OHL was kind of an eye-opening experience for him as a high pick. He had a tough year and I was harping on him a bit and last summer he really put in a lot of work and grew into his body and worked hard to do that. It was pretty cool to see; he wants to be a pro.
"He's wanted to be an NHL player for a long time so he's on the right path right now."
Stanley does a lot of summer training with Latta and the sessions have been helpful to Stanley in realizing what it takes to becoming a pro.
"He's been a big influence, especially when I got older," Stanley said. "He provided some tips and we talk all the time after games. He's busy with own hockey during the season but in the summer we hang out a lot and work together; he makes time for me and my family.
"[Latta] helps with both the on- and off-ice things and he pushes me hard."
Stanley represented Team Bobby Orr at the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Vancouver in January, and the left-handed shooter was paired with Sergachev.
"I think [Sergachev] makes me look a lot better," Stanley said. "Sometimes he'll yell something in Russian and he tries to teach me, but I forget. I know when he gets fired up because he comes back to the bench and says stuff in Russian. We laugh at him and brush it off."
Sergachev is No. 8 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters.
"You could never work hard enough [on the ice] and at [being] a good teammate," Latta said. "He grew up a lot last summer and really decided to dedicate himself to the game. He's not going to be a skilled guy in the NHL and he understands that, so he needs to continue to work hard."
Because he is a big player, Stanley knows he must continue to improve his skating and foot speed since puck retrieval and turning quickly will be imperative at the next level.
"I think the first thing is taking care of my own end, playing sound defence and moving pucks quickly to get them onto the sticks of my forwards," Stanley said. "Then it's trying to join the rush and be that fourth guy. I think playing well defensively, and being physical and hard to play against, are important."
Author: Mike G. Morreale | NHL.com Staff Writer