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He will likely always be a bit of a first-round afterthought when it comes to the 2016 NHL Draft, considering the Winnipeg Jets selected Patrik Laine second overall that summer.
But Logan Stanley, who went 16 picks later to the Jets, is hoping to begin making a name for himself as early as this fall. The towering 6-7, 231-pound defenceman who turned 20 in May is looking to work his way into the defensive depth of the organization, whether it be with the Jets or the Manitoba Moose.
Stanley got a taste of pro-hockey life this spring when he joined the Moose for their playoff run after his Kitchener Rangers were knocked out of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs.
“It was awesome to see how intense their playoff series was and how much fun they were having doing it. It was good to travel with the team. It was unfortunate that they didn’t get past that (second) round, because they had a great team this year,” Stanley said.
Stanley had his finest year in junior with 15 goals and 27 assists in 61 regular-season games, and four goals and 12 assists in 19 playoff games. Stanley is now in his third Jets summer development camp.
“Every time you come here, you just got to work as hard as you can. I don’t think many guys have been skating too much, so you just come and develop your skills. We’re working on little things out there, so you try to get better at that and help the younger guy out,” he said.
“When you come here, you realize how tough it is to be a pro hockey player and how tough it is on your body, so you really have to take care of it and I think this week really helps with that.”
Stanley said the biggest improvement to his game this season was skating and his focus for the coming weeks is crystal clear.
“I just got to come back in really good shape and be in prime condition when camp rolls around, and then you got to beat someone out of a job. So, that’s a tough part about it because all of those guys are really nice guys and they’re your buddies, but you go to try and take someone’s job,” he said.
Stanley was also happy to see the Jets select his frequent defensive partner in Kitchener, Giovanni Vallati, in the fifth round of last weekend’s NHL draft in Dallas.
“I was playing in a charity ball-hockey game. I checked my phone after and saw that he got picked and sent him a text. He’s a great kid and we actually played together as D-partners for a bunch of the year. Sent him a nice text and (was) pretty excited,” Stanley said.
“I think he’s a real good young defenceman. A good skater with a good hockey brain. He can think the game and his skills are really good, I think. He’s in a perfect organization for him and he’s going to develop really well.”
As expected, the Jets bolstered their blue-line depth Wednesday by re-signing Joe Morrow to a one-year, US$1-million contract.
Morrow was a restricted free agent who made US$650,000 last year and the Jets opted not to extend him a qualifying offer on Monday. It turns out that was simply a procedural move to avoid having Morrow decline it and go to arbitration, where he might have been awarded a contract north of what Winnipeg was able to offer him under the salary cap, which they’d then have to walk away from. Morrow apparently wanted to stay in Winnipeg and agreed to take this path to a return.
The 25-year-old is a former first-round draft pick (23rd overall) who joined the Jets at the trade deadline last season from the Montreal Canadiens. He had one goal and five assists in 18 regular-season games with Winnipeg, and one memorable playoff goal (the Game 1 winner versus the Minnesota Wild) in six playoff contests.
It didn’t take long for Jared Moe to find a new favourite NHL team.
The Minnesota native was selected in the sixth round of the draft on Saturday by Winnipeg and said he’s quickly ditched his allegiance to the Wild in favour of the Jets.
“They knocked the Wild out of the playoffs this year, so I guess I’m going to have to change my favourite team,” the goaltender said Wednesday, adding “I didn’t think the Wild had a chance.”
Moe posted impressive numbers last season with Waterloo of the United States Hockey League (32 games, 23-6 record, 2.23 goals-against average, .919 save percentage) and is headed back there for one more season before playing college hockey with the University of Michigan in 2019.
He knew the Jets had an interest in him based on pre-draft conversations and watched Winnipeg closely through their playoff run.
“Big hockey fan, love to watch all the games no matter what. I thought they were a great team all year,” he said. “They were one of the teams I had talked to going in and I knew they had interest. Every time they had a pick, I was kind of a little more focused on that.”
Standing 6-3, Moe said he tries to model his game after Vezina Trophy winner Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators.
“I think I play a more athletic style. I do have the fundamental parts, more controlled at times, but I think I rely on my athleticism to make a lot of saves,” he said.
This week spent at development camp will go a long way to helping both his confidence and ability.
“I think it’s exceeded my expectations. I’m just trying to get some things out of it, we’ve been working with the goalie coaches here the past couple days. I’ve learned a lot already and I’m excited to learn more,” he said. “Just things with how you move, how to be smoother, overall just fine-tuning the small parts of my game has been a great help this week.”
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @mikemcintyrewpg
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.