Logan Stankoven is arguably one of the most underrated NHL affiliated prospects right now. He is easily a top thirty prospect in the league in my opinion and he has a ceiling that can compete with most team’s best prospects. He can best be described as an undersized, skilled scoring center with a very good shot. If I had to guess, I would say he is most likely going to play on the wing in the NHL given his size, but he’s also very good at faceoffs, so he may step in to take draws for his centers, much like how Gabe Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen often take draws for Nathan Mackinnon in Colorado.
What really excites me about Stankoven is his shot. His release is lightning quick and his shooting mechanics are very efficient, which is important for a smaller player. Taller players can generate more power on wrist shots more easily because their sticks tend to be longer, which gives them more leverage, and they are also often physically stronger. To make up for these shortcomings, Stankoven instead creates his power through efficient, well timed weight transfers in his feet, strong kicks from his back leg, and good hand extension. Extending your hands further from your body as you shoot allows you to generate more downward force on your stick which in turn creates more power on your shot. I talk about this in the video as well.
Goalies are often caught off guard by the quickness of Stankoven’s release and the power he can generate. This likely won’t transfer very well to the NHL, especially as goalies gain experience playing against him, but it likely won’t matter. Obviously the NHL is the world’s hardest league to score in, but Stankoven’s shot is powerful enough, accurate enough, and his release is quick enough that he should still be able to beat goalies with regularity. He doesn’t need a ton of time or space to get a good shot off, which is an aspect of his shooting that should transfer to the NHL particularly well.
Elite prospects profile summary of Stankoven in their 2021 draft guide:
“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
This is an accurate and clearly positive summary of Stankoven’s game, and having seen him play in his draft plus one season, it would be pretty easy to argue he only improved on his draft season performance that earned this type of praise. That being said, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Stankoven.
Stankoven’s defensive game could certainly use some work and his defensive positioning is probably the biggest weakness in his game. He is often guilty of flying pretty high in the defensive zone, hoping for a breakout pass he can take for a quick rush chance up the ice. However, he does contribute enough, especially in the neutral zone that he should be capable of playing passable defense at the NHL level. I expect him to work on this area of his game in the upcoming seasons. If he does make the NHL this season, he will likely receive sheltered 5 on 5 minutes because of his defensive inconsistencies, but if he can improve even marginally, he should eventually work into the top six, if not a top line role, even if he isn’t a guy you’re icing when you’re trying to kill of a 6 on 5 with a one goal lead late in the game.
A worst case scenario for Stankoven is he can’t play good enough defense to be an effective NHL player and he spends most of his career in the AHL or Europe. Best case scenario is he thrives on a top line, scoring 30 goals a season. He may be capable of scoring 40, but don’t expect that to be the norm for him, even in a best case scenario. His offensive positioning and playmaking abilities are also pretty solid even though they aren’t really special compared to his shot. This should mean he’s capable of being around a point per game player though. I suspect when all is said and done, his career points per game will be right around that magical .7 mark that makes someone a “star” player.
Because of the type of player he is, and his size, his most obvious comparable player is Cole Caufield. I don’t think there is much debate about that. In the video above, I discuss this comparison while also breaking down some of his best plays from the 2022 world junior championship.
There is always going to be a bit of doubt when it comes to players of Stankoven’s size, especially centers. You will hear varying opinions about size in the NHL though. I find that a lot of younger, more analytic focused scouts and fans are not as concerned about size as many are. It seems that this discussion of size really stems from an older school way of thinking about the game. The league does seem to be moving towards a more friendly environment for smaller players, but many people in powerful positions within organizations, i.e. general managers, head coaches, etc. come from a more old school background. It is my opinion that undersized players often have to perform so well that they simply cannot be ignored, and I think Stankoven has what it takes to do so.
I’ve attached Stankoven’s 2021-22 player card from @MitchLBrown for a more visual summary of the kind of player he is.