BUFFALO, NEW YORK - Kevin Cheveldayoff and his scouting staff knew what they wanted, and they didn't want to wait their turn to get it.
The Winnipeg Jets traded the 22nd and 36th overall picks to Philadelphia in order to move up to select Windsor Spitfires defenseman Logan Stanley at 18th overall. The Jets also got Philadelphia's 79th overall pick in the trade.
"From our standpoint in our meetings Logan was a guy that we definitely targeted to hopefully get at 22. But the way things were falling, and some of the thoughts that we had, we felt we had to step up to get him," said Cheveldayoff. "These are things that having the ability to do that because of our prospect pool, we felt it was a great opportunity for us to get a player."
Standing 6'7", Stanley scored five goals and had 17 points with the Spitfires this season, where he was a teammate with Brendan Lemieux. Stanley said the fact the Jets traded up to get him made his NHL Draft experience even better.
"It's definitely a special feeling. I have to keep working hard to prove that they made a good choice on that," Stanley said. "I couldn't be happier to be a part of the Jets organization."
Speaking of the organization, Stanley looks to Jets blue liner Tyler Myers as a player he looks up to. At 6'8", Myers knows a thing or two about getting up and down the ice with all that height.
One of the keys in Stanley's mind? Foot speed. It's something he wants to work on this summer, and going forward in his career.
"Just get a little bit quicker, just keep getting stronger. I think that will help me a lot," said Stanley, who credits the Spitfires coaching staff of Rocky Thompson, Trevor Letowski, and Jerrod Smith for his strong play this season.
"We did a lot of video, (they) broke down the game for me," said Stanley. "They helped me a lot this year, and kind of explained the game and made things easier."
That development path was what caught the eye of Cheveldayoff.
"Just from the character and the compete standpoint, he's someone that we really believe is just scratching the surface of where he can go," said Cheveldayoff. "Getting a defenseman, left shot, certainly does help. When all those things collide, you just don't let those things slip through your fingers."
Stanley has another connection to a current member of the Jets. Being a Waterloo, Ontario native, he has a friend that played with Mark Scheifele with the Barrie Colts.
But walking into a dressing room of new faces doesn't intimidate Stanley. It's something he had to do with Team Canada for the IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship only a couple short months ago.
"I met a lot of new guys there and made a lot of friendships," said Stanley. "I learned a lot of lessons there that will help me in the future."
But even with that future ahead of him, Stanley can't help but reflect on the people that helped him get to where he is today. A few of those people happened to be in the seats with him today at First Niagara Center: His mom, dad, and brother. They were the first in line for congratulatory hugs once his name was announced.
"I think it's special for them, as much as it is for me," he said. "They've been along the way with me for all of this, and supported me. I can't thank them enough."