The 6’6 rearguard was the 18th selection in the 2016 draft but has failed to live up to his draft billing. Stanley has just 119 career NHL appearances under his belt, only four of which have come in 2023-24 as he has been a frequent healthy scratch. More of a stay-at-home player, the 25-year-old has 20 career points along with 157 blocks and 228 hits.
Stanley was frustrated with his situation last season, one that saw him limited to just 19 appearances between injuries and scratches. The end result was a reported trade request although clearly, that didn’t come to fruition. This summer, Stanley accepted a one-year, $1MM contract in August, the amount of his qualifying offer. He’ll once again be a restricted free agent with salary arbitration rights in July, owed that same amount as a qualifier.
With Declan Chisholm finally seeing some NHL action in recent weeks, Winnipeg is currently carrying eight blueliners on its active roster with Ville Heinola – ready for an NHL look himself – on injured reserve. They also have Kyle Capobianco – a regular on the roster last year – at AHL Manitoba. Accordingly, it might make sense for GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to explore selling off some surplus depth although Garrioch does point out that Stanley is not being shopped.
Of course, it’s fair to say that Stanley’s value is far from being at its peak. Seventh or eighth defensemen generally don’t yield much of a return on the trade market so it’s fair to say they’d be selling low. That’s not something Cheveldayoff typically does as he’s well-known for his patience to find the right move.
Stanley’s level of performance hasn’t changed much over the years so it’s fair to question how much upside he has left with Winnipeg. However, given where he was picked, it’s likely that there are organizations who believe a change of scenery could do him some good and that they can unlock his potential, so to speak. If there are enough of those, the Jets could get a good enough offer to be persuaded to move on at some point in the coming weeks. Otherwise, his extended stint in the press box seems likely to continue.