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It’s a tall order for any player, jumping right out of junior and having to face a lineup that includes arguably the world’s best player.
It added up to a tough night at the office for Winnipeg Jets prospect Logan Stanley, who was burned on three occasions Thursday while taking on the Edmonton Oilers in pre-season action.
The Jets battled hard with a young, rather inexperienced group but ultimately fell 7-3 at Rogers Place.
Stanley, 20, had a solid debut on Monday night at Bell MTS Place in a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild in which he was paired with Dustin Byfuglien, but struggled in his second game against a more potent roster while skating in a pairing with journeyman defenceman Joe Morrow.
On Edmonton’s first goal, Stanley was caught flat-footed as Jesse Puljujärvi blew by him and fired a shot past Jets goalie Eric Comrie.
On the second goal, Stanley couldn’t corral a bouncing puck and was stripped of it by Connor McDavid, who fed linemate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the tally.
On the third goal, Stanley lost track of his man in front of the net and couldn’t recover in time as Ty Rattie was left all alone and able to deflect a feed past Comrie.
Stanley was considered a longer-term project with the Jets when they selected him in the first round, 18th overall, in the 2016 NHL draft. Few, if any, expected him to make the club right out of training camp as he navigates the waters of pro hockey for the first time after finishing his junior career last spring in Kitchener.
But it’s clear Stanley’s going to take some time to adjust to the speed of the NHL game, even if he has shown increased quickness in this camp over his previous one. He’ll get that opportunity this fall with the Manitoba Moose, where mistakes won’t be quite as magnified as they are at this level.
As for the rest of Thursday’s game, a handful of young Jets players had fine showings against an Oilers team that closely resembled their regular roster.
Forward Marko Dano, competing for full-time work, scored for the second time in as many pre-season games, ripping a wrist shot past Oilers goalie Cam Talbot.
Centre Jack Roslovic showed plenty of speed and sizzle, nearly scoring a highlight-reel goal on a fantastic power-play rush.
Only a few experienced Jets players dressed Thursday, and the line of Adam Lowry, Andrew Copp and Brandon Tanev was the team’s most dangerous, combining for a pair of goals. Copp fed Lowry for one, then later scored on a nice feed from young defenceman Sami Niku.
McDavid, Nugent-Hopkins and Rattie all got their second goals of the game in the third period, while Milan Lucic also scored on the power play while Jets forward Brendan Lemieux was in the box.
Comrie, who is competing for the backup spot behind Connor Hellebuyck, was a busy man and stopped 30 shots.
Winnipeg continues its exhibition schedule by hosting the Calgary Flames on tonight at Bell MTS Place. They team is expected to dress a more experienced lineup including Hellebuyck, Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor making their pre-season debut.
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.