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2021 NHL Draft: Logan Stankoven is beaming with potential

Despite his short stature, Stankoven is going to make some NHL teams looking dumb for passing on him.

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Kamloops Blazers at Kelowna Rockets Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images

Around the chaotic frenzy of the NHL Entry Draft and the rankings coming out from every single publication, trying to either get as much information as they can on a player or just simply lazily going with the status quo, some interesting narratives leak through the digital cracks. Some people show their bare ass when it comes to rankings though.

Sometimes it’s personal preference, but so many teams and scouts have been burned in the exact same spot for the exact same preferences. Logan Stankoven is a 5-foot-8 forward that has an undying production of offense no matter when he plays. In the extremely short six-game season he had in the WHL, he still was able to score seven(!) goals and 10 points. Even the year before, he scored 29 goals and 48 points in 59 games, when he was just 16 years old during most of that.

It’s been too long that players that are considered short around usual evaluators should be seen as inferior players and projected to be worse than their amateur production spells out. Even the Wild themselves were able to take advantage of multiple teams not wanting to take center Marco Rossi last year because he is considered short for a centerman. While Stankoven is inch shorter than the top Wild prospect, he plays a similar high-pace game that can be measured out as someone that will jump up 2021 NHL Draft re-drafts in a few years.

It’s almost a tradition at this point to underrate shorter players that they always are taken way later than they should, so I’m going to assume it’s the same with Stankoven. Everything that’s being said about him and how many damn goals he can score, just feels right to take advantage over dumbass teams that overthink it.

Pre-Draft Rankings

#31 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)

#26 by Elite Prospects

#46 by Craig Button/TSN

#18 by Scott Wheeler/The Athletic

#30 by Corey Pronman/The Athletic

#23 by Dobber Prospects

What Scouts Are Saying

I had one source describe Stankoven as “superhuman” inside the offensive zone and when you hear that again and again in different ways from different people, and then you watch him fill the net on the ice, the size thing of him being 5-foot-8 begins to dissipate. From the top of the faceoff circles in, Stankoven’s a threatening creator who can crack a game open in a split second and who is even more dangerous the closer he gets to the hashmarks. He’s got a lethal release, he’s strong on his feet for his size, which helps him keep a surprising number of plays alive. He can break down defenders in traffic, he’s a sneaky-good facilitator, and he plays with a ton of energy. It’s not hard to imagine him building towards a career as a top-six winger in the NHL.

-Scott Wheeler, The Athletic

He’s a fearless puck-carrier, always driving the inside, and never shy about setting up shop near the net-front off of the puck. He plays a north-south game and always attacks at an unrelentingly high pace. The mechanics behind his shot are so clean, exerting downward force while pushing his top hand off his body.

-Elite Prospects 2021 Draft Guide

Stankoven is able to utilize his quick feet to gain body position and work his way between his opponent and the puck. He has great positional habits and great stick placement to be effective in a larger area than his size might normally allow. Stankoven is effective in all three zones, but his best offensive skill is his ability to transition the puck with speed and push the puck deep into the offensive zone. Stankoven also does an incredible job of reading the play and anticipating where the puck is going to be. The number of intercepted passes or loose pucks he was able to jump on through the NZ and OZ was highly impressive and really enabled Canada to maintain pressure on their opponents.

-Dylan Galloway, FC Hockey

Stankoven has been successful between the WHL and international levels the last two seasons. Stankoven’s game has a high level of pace due to his compete. He creates chances by pressuring turnovers and winning puck battles, despite being 5-foot-8. His skating is more elusive than fast and while he’s a good skater he doesn’t have a great top gear for a small player. He has very quick hands, showing the ability to beat defenders one-on-one, and control pucks in tight at a high level. Stankoven has a great wrist shot and projects to be able to beat NHL goalies from range. He can make some plays, but his game is more direct as opposed to being a cerebral playmaker. In a sentence, Stankoven projects as a middle-six forward, likely on the wing in the NHL.

-Corey Pronman, The Athletic

Stankoven is an undersized forward that plays a fast-paced, buzzsaw style of hockey. He is a deadly shooter with a quick, heavy release that he can let go from multiple points in his shooting motion and generates good power on his one-timer as well. He has quick feet that rarely stop moving, effectively pressuring opponents with and without the puck on his stick. Despite his small stature, Stankoven doesn’t shy away from the dirty areas, finishing hits on the forecheck and getting underneath defenders to battle for space in front of the net. He is an efficient passer but his shooting ability and tenacity are what will make him an effective NHLer. Yet to play a game this season due to pandemic restrictions in British Columbia, Stankoven could climb this list by season’s end if Kamloops is able to return to action and allow him to showcase his skills.

-Nick Richard, Dobber Prospects

Would He Fit In With The Wild?

I honestly think so. His high work rate and north-south game can be a benefit for Minnesota and a team with more physicality in the forward lineup than puck skills. He scores a ton of goals and, again, the Wild don’t have a lot of those type of dudes beyond the top players.

It might not look the prettiest drafting another short forward, but also it doesn’t really matter and you can sign guys that are big and strong and powerful as free agents if you want to balance out the roster.

Could The Wild Get Him?

With the wide range of rankings, I’m going to say with confidence that the Wild can get Stankoven at the No. 21 or No. 25 pick. The rankings or mock drafts done by online publications usually keep an eye out for biases and really enjoy the skill over and level of projectable size. I wouldn’t be surprised if Stankoven slips all the way down to the Wild’s second-round pick, just because teams don’t want to take him.

Hopefully Minnesota is one of those teams that learn from previous harsh lessons and swipe him up with a big grin on its face.

A Minnesota Relation

Instead of having to trek back through the Wild’s 20-year history, a player currently on their roster kind of fits Stankoven’s description. It’s all fun and games, but Mats Zuccarello is basically an older, more Norwegian version of Stankoven. From the goalscoring to the ability to set up his opponents on the perimeter, Zuccarello has the same sort of playstyle.

This doesn’t mean anything so don’t assume that he’s going to have the same career path as our Lizard King, please.

2021 NHL Draft Board

  1. Owen Power — D, University of Michigan (NCAA)
  2. Matthew Beniers — C, University of Michigan (NCAA)
  3. Brandt Clarke — D, HC Nove Zamky (Slovenia)
  4. Luke Hughes — D, University of Michigan (NCAA)
  5. Dylan Guenther — LW/RW, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
  6. Simon Edvinsson — D, Frolunda (SHL)
  7. William Eklund — C/LW, Djurgårdens IF (SHL)
  8. Kent Johnson — C, University of Michigan (NCAA)
  9. Mason McTavish — C/W, Peterborough Petes/EHC Olten (OHL/Swiss)
  10. Carson Lambos — D, Winnipeg Ice (WHL)
  11. Aatu Raty — C, Kärpät (Liiga)
  12. Chaz Lucius — C, USNTDP Juniors (USHL), U.S. National U18 Team (USDP)
  13. Cole Sillinger — C, Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)
  14. Sasha Pastujov — LW, U.S. National U18 team (USDP)
  15. Jesper Wallstedt — G, Luleå HF (SHL)
  16. Fabian Lysell — RW, Luleå HF (SHL)
  17. Matthew Coronato — LW, Chicago Steel (USHL)
  18. Oskar Olausson — F, HV71 (HockeyAllsvenskan/Swedish)
  19. Corson Ceulemans — D, Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
  20. Fyodor Svechkov — C, Togliatti (VHL)
  21. Brennan Othmann — LW, EHC Olten (SL)
  22. Zach Bolduc — C, Rimouski Océanic (QMJHL)
  23. Xavier Bourgault — C, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
  24. Logan Stankoven — C/RW, Kamloops Blazers (WHL)