Jets prospect all healed for Mem Cup

Towering defenceman selected 18th overall in 2016 draft

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There’s no such thing as a good time to suffer a serious injury. But Logan Stanley says he was particularly frustrated when he went down with a torn meniscus in mid-January.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 09/05/2017 (2040 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

There’s no such thing as a good time to suffer a serious injury. But Logan Stanley says he was particularly frustrated when he went down with a torn meniscus in mid-January.

The towering 18-year-old Windsor Spitfires defenceman — a first-round draft pick of the Winnipeg Jets last summer — was just rounding into form following a tough start to the season. Even worse, his club is this year’s host of the Memorial Cup and the knee surgery put his status for that potentially once-in-a-lifetime event in serious jeopardy.

Stanley admits it would have been easy to feel sorry for himself. Instead, he used the timing as a means to motivate himself in what turned out to be a race against the calender.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES Defenceman Logan Stanley will get some invaluable playoff experience as his Windsor Spitfires team is hosting the Memorial Cup from May 19 to 28.

Now, with the showcase junior hockey event set to begin next week, Stanley has beaten the clock and expects to be in the lineup when his team faces off against the champions of the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

“When I train, I try to have something in my mind that will motivate me,” Stanley said Tuesday prior to hitting the ice for practice. “That was my goal. To get back and dominate and help my team win.”

The host team is always granted an exemption into the four-squad Canadian Hockey League championship. The Spitfires qualified for the OHL playoffs this season, but were knocked out by the defending champion London Knights in a first-round series that went the seven-game maximum.

“It was tough to watch. The guys battled hard all series,” Stanley said of being on the sidelines.

The early playoff exit means Windsor will not have seen game action for more than six weeks when the puck drops on the Memorial Cup on May 19. But Stanley believes the long layoff could be a blessing in disguise. Not only has it allowed him enough time to heal, but several banged-up teammates also have recovered.

“We’re excited for this. It’s one of the first times all year we’ve had a full, healthy lineup,” he said. “The excitement here is building every week. We really think we have a good chance to win this.”

It won’t be easy. The winners of the ongoing league finals (Regina vs. Seattle in the WHL, Mississauga vs. Erie in the OHL and Saint John vs. Blainville-Boisbriand in the QMJHL) will be coming in hot and battle-tested.

Stanley was selected by the Jets with the 18th-overall pick after they grabbed Patrik Laine second overall. Winnipeg got the extra first-round pick from the Chicago Blackhawks as part of the Andrew Ladd trade.

The 6-7, left-handed shooting Stanley finished with four goals and 13 assists in 35 games before he was injured.

That tied his point production from the previous year, when he played 64 games.

“I felt really good. The game was starting to feel pretty easy to me. I was starting to get into a bit of a groove,” he said.

Stanley’s knee was surgically repaired in Winnipeg in January and he has kept in touch with the Jets since.

“The guys in Winnipeg have been great, just keeping in contact with me,” he said.

Now that he’s back on the ice, Stanley believes he’s 100 per cent healthy, but said the real test will come a week from Friday.

“I feel great, I feel strong. My conditioning level is pretty high,” he said. “But I don’t think I’ll really know that for sure until the first game.”

In addition to watching him compete in the Memorial Cup, Jets fans will likely get another up-close look at Stanley at the team’s annual development camp coming up this summer in Winnipeg.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Sports columnist

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

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Updated on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 8:13 AM CDT: Edited

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