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Logan Stankoven Has Been Canada's World Junior Fireball

Stankoven, a Dallas Stars prospect, packs a big punch in a small frame. He's not afraid of anything, and his numbers early in his career have set the tone for him to become a fruitful NHLer one day.
Logan Stankoven

EDMONTON - If there's one thing about Logan Stankoven, he isn't shy.

He's always smiling, always complimenting his teammates. He's not afraid to get chatty on the ice.

For a player standing at just 5-foot-8, he packs so much into his small frame, and the results are clear: he's so damn good.

"He's a little fireball out there," Canadian defenseman Ronan Seeley said after Canada's 6-3 win over Switzerland in the quarterfinal. “That’s the kind of thing we see in the (WHL), and it came out of him today. It couldn’t have come out at a better time.”

Stankoven was instrumental on Wednesday, scoring twice and adding an assist en route to player of the game honors. He also leads the tournament with a 68.75 percent success rate in the faceoff dot, something he credits his small center of gravity for.

“Just a classic Stanks game,” said goaltender Dylan Garand, Stankoven's netminder in Kamloops. “I’ve seen lots of those games.”

Stankoven's small stature was the main reason why he fell to Dallas at 48th overall in 2021. The skill was evident from an early age -- his 101 points from his season in the BC Elite U-18 league in 2018-19 is third behind Alex Kerfoot and Mathew Barzal all time. He can shoot, score, has tremendous speed and isn't afraid to get physical, either. Putting that all together, Stankoven was awarded CHL player of the year after a 45-goal, 104-point regular season before leading the WHL's playoffs with 17 goals and 31 points in 17 games.

Naturally, he was a no-brainer to step into a top-six role with Canada. And skating alongside Kent Johnson and Tyson Foerster, Stankoven has helped to create a dangerous second scoring line behind the Connor Bedard-Mason McTavish duo.

"He's flying out there, he's physical," forward Will Cuylle said. "He's doing so much for us... his heart is definitely bigger than his height."

Stankoven is tied with Bedard and Zellweger for second in team scoring with seven points through five games. As a secondary scoring option, he's been difficult to play against, bringing his blend of explosive, attack-first hockey every single night. 

"He has super quick feet and super quick hands and he's really smart too," defenseman Olen Zellweger said. 

His aggressive play has been noticeable, too: early in the third against Switzerland, he threw two big hits and generated a scoring chance in the same shift. Even at a small size, he's not afraid to mix it up, and that's part of why many believe teams made a big mistake discounting his size.

And then when you look at his WHL numbers -- and the fact he's headed back to the WHL this year, barring an NHL roster spot with Dallas out of training camp -- you have to wonder just how far he can take his game.

“I feel like when I’m hanging onto pucks more and not getting rid of the puck right away, that’s when I’m at my best," Stankoven said. 

Canada's effort against the Swiss wasn't the team's best, and now they're set to face a Czech team they've already beaten but are flying high off of a big win against the United States. Coach Dave Cameron shuffled Canada's lines around, most notably splitting up Bedard and McTavish. With Ridly Greig expected to miss Friday, and perhaps Saturday, Canada wanted to split the offense, but Stankoven's line was working too well to make any changes. 

And much of that is thanks to Stankoven's tremendous skillset. It's hard not to notice him out there, size concerns notwithstanding, because he's a loaded gun every time he has the puck.

If Canada takes home gold on Saturday, don't be surprised if Stankoven had a big part in making it happen.

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