Windsor Spitfires’ Logan Stanley set to get into foes’ faces: Making The Jump

Logan Stanley has never had any hang-ups about playing rough.

At 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds, the Windsor Spitfires top pick was the biggest player taken in the first round of the Ontario Hockey League priority selection. Stanley, who's already arrived in southwestern Ontario for his first training camp, is eager to establish himself as a defender who can change the flow of play by using his size effectively.

"My favourite player in the NHL is Shea Weber and he's a physical guy who likes to throw his weight around, be physical in his own end," the Waterloo, Ont., native says. "I just try to be like him. I just think it's fun to get in other guys' faces and hit hard and stuff like that. It's a big part of my game, but also it's important to be a good skater and make a good first pass. All those three things can make a good defenceman.

"If you're going to play rough and hit hard, you're going to be expected to fight once in a while," adds Stanley, who played with the Waterloo Wolves during his minor midget year. "I'm coming in knowing that's going to happen and I'm ready for that, I think. I think that will be a fun experience."

That edge could play well in Windsor, where Spitfires fans have long enjoyed hard-nosed hockey. Stanley, who turned 16 in late May, has also made sure to painstakingly refine his skating and all-around game. Like many taller boys, his coordination lagged ("it's hard for your your muscles to keep up"). However, training with his cousin, Washington Capitals forward Michael Latta, has helped him get up to speed. Latta, 23, who played for Ottawa and Guelph in the OHL, played his first 17 NHL games last season with the Caps.

"He has helped me a lot," Stanley says. "I first got started with my parents (Jeff and Lori). My mum and my dad put so much time in to get me to the rink and there was so much money for gear and other stuff.

"As I got older, Mike started teaching me more, telling me about key things that I need to do in order to impress scouts. He's been a great influence on me. We work out together. Seeing how committed he is makes me want to push for next level.

"He helps with both the on- and off-ice. He pushes me hard and when we're on the ice, he'll show me stuff. When we're off the ice, he likes to joke around."

1. What skill do you really want to make progress with over the course of this season?

"Probably just my skating and overall foot speed, being able to get to pucks quickly and make good pivots. Guys are so fast in the OHL so you have to be able to keep up."

2. Aside from Weber, which NHL defencemen have you closely watched?

"Maybe a guy like Tyler Myers. He's 6-7 and skates really well so he is one guy. And then a guy like [retired Detroit Red Wings captain] Nick Lidstrom is someone you look up to and wish one day you could come close to being like. I think for all young defencemen that's one of the guys who stands out. He's one of the best of all time."

3. You mentioned Mike (Latta) and your parents, but who is one other person you really credit for your success so far?

"Definitely my little brother Reese [who is 13 years old, and a forward]. He's been there through everything and he's always supported me. Right now, it's tough to leave him with me moving away. He's always at the rink watching me play or texting me asking how my game went. I owe a lot to him.

"Also, my dad always coached me in spring hockey growing up and my mom would always take off work early to get me to practice. They sacrificed a lot of their time to help me. I can't thank them enough. It's a lot of time and a lot of money to play hockey. They never questioned themselves, they just did it."

4. If not for hockey, what sport could you imagine yourself playing?

"I was a lacrosse player for a while. I played rep lacrosse. So if hockey didn't work out, it would probably be lacrosse. It's a pretty good sport.

"I used to play a lot of baseball, too, before I switched for lacrosse. I just liked it more."

5. What is your favourite movie and TV show?

"One of the buddies has told me I should start getting into the show Suits, so that's a pretty good one. A movie would probably be Draft Day. I just saw that and it was pretty good."

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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