A team not unfamiliar with highly-publicized negotiations pertaining to young defensemen (see: Jacob Trouba), the Winnipeg Jets are at it again with the signing of 2016 first-round pick Logan Stanley. The talks with the 18-year-old were likely much easier than the Trouba ordeal, as the team has inked Stanley to the maximum three-year, $925K per year entry-level contract. A key piece to the Jet’s future endeavors, it was only a matter of time for the two sides to meet on a rookie contract for the big blue liner.
Stanley was selected by the Jets with the 18th overall pick this past June, one of eight defensemen to be taken in the first round of this past NHL Entry Draft. It was, of course, Winnipeg’s second pick in the round, as they selected rookie sensation Patrik Laine at #2 overall. Standing at 6’7″ and 230 pounds, Stanley was easily the biggest player selected in the first round, part of the reason he rose so high on draft boards. Early on in the draft process, Stanley was considered a Day Two prospect. He was known as a physically dominant defensive defenseman whose checking ability was unmatched at the junior level. However, questions about his skating and puck-moving ability remained. With improvement in his offensive play and a more consistent and intelligent game during his draft year, Stanley flew up the rankings and the Jets jumped on him at #18, much to the disappointment of several other D-needy teams.
Although now officially signed, Stanley will remain with his junior team, the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, this season and quite possibly next season as well, as he continues to develop a more complete game. Thus far in 2016-17, the Kitchener native has two goals and seven assists in 20 games, on pace for his best offensive season yet, after posting 17 points (and 103 penalty minutes) in 64 games last season. Stanley hopes to lead the Spitfires back to the playoffs again this season, as they battle with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for first place in the OHL West Division this season.