The Winnipeg Jets have signed Logan Stanley to a two-year contract, which will carry an average annual value of $900K. Stanley was a restricted free agent after performing admirably in his rookie season. PuckPedia reports that Stanley will earn $800K in 2021-22 and $1.0MM in 2022-23.
A contract that inexpensive could be a huge win for the Jets, as they look to rebuild their defense for next season. The team already brought in Nate Schmidt and Brenden Dillon, while retaining Dylan DeMelo in the expansion draft. With Stanley in the fold for such a low price and Neal Pionk still to sign, the Jets suddenly have a pretty impressive depth chart on the back end.
The 23-year-old is one of the most imposing figures in the league at 6’7″ and can skate well enough to effectively shut down rushes. Even though there was some concern over his upside in the minor leagues, he stepped into the Winnipeg lineup this season and found almost immediate success. Though his role was limited, the hulking defenseman managed to record four points in 37 games, putting up good possession stats and traditional +/-. Though not always chasing the hit, Stanley’s size obviously gives him a physical advantage over most players, one which he’s still just learning how to effectively use.
While he should figure into the lineup next season, the veterans added certainly does complicate things. The team still has Nathan Beaulieu and prospect Ville Heinola as well, meaning their number of NHL-level defensemen has suddenly reached at least eight. That’s not even considering Dylan Samberg, who looks ready to contribute soon.
That’s a big change from last season when the Jets were searching high and low for defensive help all year. The question now becomes what does Pionk sign for, given the team only has about $6MM in cap space left to sign him and Andrew Copp. Even less if you consider the fact that they only have nine forwards currently on one-way deals, and don’t have an obvious backup goaltender except for the inexperienced Eric Comrie. It will be a tight squeeze in Winnipeg this summer, but Stanley taking such a low-cost contract certainly helps matters.