Winnipeg Jets: Logan Stanley Makes Long Awaited NHL Debut In Loss To Maple Leafs
|Photo Credit: James Carey Lauder/USA Today Sports|
It’s been a long time coming for Logan Stanley, the second of two first round picks for the Winnipeg Jets back during the 2016 NHL Draft.
When it comes to debuts, the unfortunate ongoing pandemic prevented it from being a perfect debut for Stanley. Growing up in Waterloo and playing his final junior year in Kitchener, this was more of a home game for Stanley than when he dresses for the first time in Winnipeg.
So despite not being able to have the countless family and friends in the stands like he would have probably liked, Stanley made his long awaited NHL debut Monday night, playing just over 11 minutes in the Jets 3-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“Very happy with Logan’s debut. He was certainly not the weak link, his reads were good, his gap closure was good, it didn’t look like it was his first game, so very pleased with the progress that young man’s made in a year.”
That was Jets’ head coach Paul Maurice on Stanley’s debut, after earlier today talking about having to throw the young defenseman into the fire at some point this season thanks to no exhibition game - and there was no better team to do so than the Maple Leafs.
Stanley answered the call, as he got eased into action with just the 11 minutes of time on ice, all at even strength. He also recorded three shots on goal, a hits, and takeaway.
Toronto dominated the puck possession game, controlling 57.5% of the shot attempts, so the entire Jets’ blue line finished in the negative in most metrics. Although, Stanley posted the best shot attempts mark, as well as expected goal share mark among all Jets blue liners in the loss.
Stanley was eventually going to get into the lineup at some point, but with Tucker Poolman getting added to the COVID-19 list might have sped things up for him. Even though it was under unfortunate circumstances, it must have been an amazing feeling for him to finally make his NHL debut.
Due to his size and budding skill set, Stanley’s stock rose rapidly during the draft process. Players standing at 6’7” like Stanley don’t come around often, and the Jets immediately recognized, trading up back into the first round to select the defender.
At the time the Jets were loaded with talent on the blue line, allowing them the time to let Stanley develop. The patience paid off during his final year of junior, where he notched 42 points (15 G, 27 A) in 61 games.
After two more seasons in the American Hockey League, Stanley finally found himself in the NHL, with the path to stay in the lineup mostly clear while Poolman is out.
The Jets did recall Ville Heinola from the taxi squad, so there is a chance he gets into a game or two, but for now Stanley was able to cross himself off a ever shrinking left. Now that he has played in the NHL, only Riley Tufte and Logan Johansen remain as first round picks from the 2016 first round to not make their debut yet.
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