Logan Stanley is regarded as one of the top 15 defencemen eligible for the 2016 draft, with a a few outlets placing him among the top eight at that position. The major factor cited for that high ranking is his size. At 6’7", 225 pounds, he is an imposing figure on the ice, using an even larger wingspan (measured at 82-3/4" at the draft combine) to repel opposition attacks.
He takes advantage of that size, not shy about laying an open-ice hit, taking out a man behind his own net, or dropping the gloves. That aggression saw him accumulate 104 penalty minutes over the course of the year; fifth-highest among all OHL defencemen and first among first-year draft eligible Ontario-league skaters.
He’s projected to be a shutdown defender, patrolling his own zone and keeping opposing forwards away from his own net. He added a bit of mobility in the previous off-season, allowing him to cut off lanes more effectively than in his rookie year, though he still has an issue with zonal awareness when the opposition gets set up and cycling the puck.
Hometown: Waterloo, Ontario
Weight: 225 lbs.
It’s unsurprising that he lists Zdeno Chara and Shea Weber — two of the largest, most physical blue-liners in the NHL — as idols. Some see Stanley following in their footsteps as a player other teams dread when he and his club come up on the schedule. He has a long way to go before his offensive game can become close to earning a comparison to those two established veterans.
A very poor showing in his rookie season last year, in which he registered just four assists in 59 games played, was followed up with a more respectable total of 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 2015-16 while playing a second-pairing role.
Other than his size, scouts were intrigued by his development from last year to this, noting a greater ability to carry the puck and make passes up the ice to his teammates. The result of that increased possession ability was only two even-strength primary assists all season long, though he now forces other teams to respect the fact that he can effect a breakout, whereas last year there was a good chance that checking him in a one-on-one situation would result in a turnover.
Size in a nice box to have checked on the list of desired attributes in a prospect, but almost every other item in the list has a question mark. He will need to develop quite significantly from where he currently stands to have a successful NHL career.
"Just because I am big doesn’t mean I am exempt from other parts of the game," Stanley said in an interview with Sportsnet in mid-February. "I have to be able to skate and move pucks and play with some skill. I’ve tried to work on that part."
All minor corrections, to be sure.
Tyler Parchem, Elite Prospects (2016)
Stanley is a huge two-way defenceman. He loves to play physical and clear the crease, but also can chip in offensively when needed. He has become a nasty player that the other team dreads whenever he is on the ice. Very few players can match him physically due his monster 6'6" frame, and he uses this to his advantage every game. He is a very consistent player who's offensive game improved as the year went on. He looked very good in a first-round series loss to the Kitchener Rangers in the 2016 OHL Playoffs.
Future Considerations (June, 2016)
Stanley can be caught flat-footed, and also exposed on turns and pivots by smaller, agile forwards. He possesses some shockingly good puck-handling skills for a kid his size. He makes smart little plays to advance the puck, skating it if he needs to and passing at the right time. He has shown more confidence in leading the rush up ice as this season has progressed.
Mark Edwards, Hockey Prospect Black Book (June, 2016)
I was not a big fan of Stanley going into this season. I give him big props for how much he’s improved, possibly the most improved player in the draft class. That said, he lost me a bit in the second half of the season. I saw more turnovers and poor puck decisions. Based on my discussions with numerous scouts late in the season, I was not alone having him as a bit of a faller. Best way I could describe my conversations about him in the second half of the season is that scouts seem to either love him or have very little time for him.
ISS Hockey (June, 2016)
Very intimidating presence on the blue line. Skates well for a player of his stature and rarely gets beat wide as he is very good with using his stick and his massive wing span. When he is playing a simple, physical, puck-moving game there aren't many in this age group that are better. He doesn't give you much time and space to make plays.
Future Considerations: 42nd
ISS Hockey: 25th
Central Scouting service: 19th (North American skaters)
Hockey Prospect Black Book: 30th
DraftBuzz Hockey: 58th
Stanley is ranked anywhere from a late first-round position to one the last picks of the second round.
It’s possible Stanley blossoms into the next Chara or Weber, but I just don’t see anything to suggest that that is a likely scenario. I would be disappointed if Montreal spent its 70th pick on him in the third round, let alone the 39th, which is around where most of the experts have him slotted.
Needing to see big gains in every area other than the size of his body, it will be quite some time before he’s ready to join an NHL team, if in fact he ever reaches that level.
If it was 1996, when no holds were barred and offence was at a premium, perhaps it would make sense to take a player whose main skill was protecting the area around his own goal. In 2016, puck skills are the most important asset to add to your organization, and at any given point of the draft, there will likely be a better option available than what Stanley currently provides.