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Stanley reflects on first pro season and looks ahead to training camp

"I think I definitely got more comfortable throughout the year." -Stanley

by Mitchell Clinton @MitchellClinton / WinnipegJets.com

WINNIPEG - He's already 6'7", but Logan Stanley still found a way to grow during the 2018-19 season.

"I think when I got drafted I was a tall boy," he said. "Now I'm trying to turn into a little bit more of a man here."

The majority of his growth didn't happen in height though - it happened with his confidence. This was his first full pro season - and by the end of it, he was heavily relied on by Manitoba Moose head coach Pascal Vincent.

"We had a sequence in California where we had to play five games on the road and we had quite a few injuries and we had to play him 28, 29, 30 minutes a game," Vincent said. "(They were) physical games. We were playing against men. They were hard on the forecheck and heavy pressure - he was the best player on the ice."

Stanley wrapped up the regular season with points in four of his last five games, finishing the campaign with six goals and 22 points in 73 games.

"I think I definitely got more comfortable throughout the year," the 21-year-old said. "You get used to the speed and the size of the other guys you're playing against. You build confidence throughout the year and it also helped playing with good players and having good D partners all year and learning from the older guys. You gain confidence doing that."

Video: DEV CAMP | Logan Stanley

As his ice time continued to increase over the course of the season, so too did his ability to move pucks under pressure.

That particular skill was the focus of Thursday's session at Bell MTS Iceplex, the second to last day of this month's development camp.

"For a defenceman and the way the game is played now, the speed of the forwards, for a defenceman to turn and make a play under pressure is a real asset," Vincent said. "We have a real good player in Josh Morrissey, when you look at the details in his game, it's quite amazing. I don't want to compare players, but Logan Stanley, when he turns to go get that puck and make a play under pressure and the poise he has, it's quite impressive.

"I think he's going to play and I think people in Winnipeg will like him a lot."

Stanley isn't skating this week - he has a minor lower-body injury that he says won't affect the rest of his summer training - but he knows other elements of his game will need to continue to improve before training camp.

"I think everyone in today's game is trying to get faster somehow. Whether you're already fast and skilled and stuff like that, but you want to improve on everything," Stanley said. "For me with how the game is going now and how fast it is, that's what I try to work on every single day. That's my main goal along with a lot of other things too."

While he isn't skating this week, Stanley - now at his fourth development camp since being drafted 18th overall in 2016 - is finding ways to be a mentor, as he remembers appreciating those who did that for him when he was 18.

"It's cool actually," Stanley said with a grin after being called a 'veteran.' 

"I remember when I was coming into my first camp how nervous I was. There were some great older guys here that helped me out and brought me under their wing. I've been just trying to do the same for the young guys, make them feel comfortable - that's what this week is about. I think they're enjoying it."

This season may have been a year of progress for Stanley, but the towering defenceman still wants more. 

"I don't think I accomplished what I wanted to. I didn't play in the NHL all year. That's your main goal, to play in the NHL," Stanley said. "So when that doesn't happen I think there is always more to improve on. This summer that's what I'm working for and that's what I hope to accomplish next year."

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