Like many hockey players around the world, Kamloops native Logan Stankoven has felt the full effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and has had seasons cut short. Stankoven is coming off a hot rookie season with his hometown Kamloops Blazers, where, as a 16-year-old, he put up an impressive 48 points (29 goals, 19 assists) in 59 games. Had it not been for the pandemic, Stankoven would have broken the franchise rookie goal-scoring record (29) set by Rob Brown in 1984-85. The Blazers’ rookie also held one of the highest faceoff percentages in the WHL last season.
The Western Hockey League’s (WHL) B.C. Division opted to start a 24-game season in March and the Kamloops Blazers opened their season on March 26, against the Vancouver Giants. Stankoven was off to an explosive start before leaving for the IIHF U-18 World Championships in mid-April. In just six games played this season, he had seven goals and 10 points, already proving to be a menace in the offensive zone. For a second straight year in a row, the Kamloops Blazers were named the B.C. Division Champions posting a record of 18-4-0-0 and 36 points. With the talent surrounding Stankoven in Kamloops, this will be a player and team to watch over the next couple of years.
U-18 World Championships
With the IIHF getting the greenlight last month to host the U-18 World Championships in Texas, this gave NHL prospects a chance to shine in front of scouts for likely the first time this year. Stankoven was one of 10 WHL players named to Team Canada and was named one of three assistant captains to represent his country.
The Blazers’ forward shined throughout the entire tournament, recording eight points (four goals, four assists) in seven games. In the gold medal game against Russia, he scored a critical goal in the second period to put Team Canada up 4-2. That lead would help Canada go on to win the gold medal for the first time since 2013. This was not Stankoven’s first time playing on the international stage, either. In 2019-20 he represented Team Canada Red at the WHC-17 Tournament and scored four goals in five games. He has proven time and time again that he is a pure goalscorer who can put the puck in the net at any level. With his recent performances at the international level, don’t be surprised to see him on a top line at next year’s World Junior Hockey Championships.
2021 NHL Entry Draft
With the 2021 NHL Entry Draft quickly approaching, Stankoven is a player who is extremely underrated due to his size. He is an exceptional goalscorer, who has one of the best shots of his draft class and can find the back of the net from all angles. His explosive speed and excellent skating are one of his best assets.
Related: 2021 NHL Draft Guide
He can break away from the opposition with little effort and use his edgework to create space for everyone on the ice. When you combine all the traits that Stankoven has, it’s hard not to drool over the potential he holds. Although one of the biggest knocks is his size, he doesn’t play like a smaller player, he’s tenacious on the forecheck and not afraid to battle down low to get pucks.
With the recent success of smaller players such as Johnny Gaudreau, Alex DeBrincat, and Cole Caufield, the “he’s undersized” argument should be scrapped. Currently, Stankoven is ranked by TSN’s Bob McKenzie to go in the second round at 44th overall, but with the recent success at the U18s and a short but sweet season in Kamloops, his draft stock should be well on the rise. In my opinion, Logan Stankoven will be one of the biggest steals at the upcoming draft and he should hear his name called a lot earlier than expected.
Born and raised in Kamloops B.C. and a die-hard fan of the Kamloops Blazers, hockey has always been a part of his life. Now, Colton is exploring the sports media world and looking to make it a career. He currently covers the Winnipeg Jets, as well as contributes to World Juniors, and draft-related content. He is co-host of the WesternCentric Podcast, which revolves around the WHL.