BILLECK: Jets’ Stanley making strides as defensive depth grows


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At 22 years of age, it was solely earlier this week that Stanley stepped foot on the ice for his first Nationwide Hockey League recreation — an opportunity many doubted would ever occur.

It’s a story that has performed out for the higher a part of the previous four-and-a-half years, but it surely’s one which could possibly be within the early levels of change.

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“Might” and “early” are acceptable provided that Stanley has solely performed three NHL video games now, all within the span of the previous 5 days, and produced his greatest effort within the lattermost contest — a Four-1 win for the Jets over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday — Winnipeg’s most full recreation in a really younger season.

We’re delving into recency bias and dealing with a small pattern dimension, granted. Extra full evaluations will come. However befitting of a 6-foot-7 man who scrapes ceilings when he walks right into a room, Stanley has taken some prolonged strides in his transient time within the present.

None extra so than Thursday’s recreation on the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa. Regardless of some stutters to begin the sport — specifically a bobbled puck that stored the Jets pinned in their very own zone — Stanley settled shortly and appeared to search out his grove. There have been a few strong outlet passes, a pleasant exit up the center and a bit extra of an offensive mindset with six shot makes an attempt within the recreation, second solely to Andrew Copp. He completed with 56.7% of the shot share throughout his 12 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time, together with an anticipated targets proportion of 67.9% (a quantity that was zero% on Tuesday).

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The large he’s on the ice, he’s been ready to make use of his stick and get physique place to defend. These may appear to be issues he ought to already know, however do not forget that Stanley solely performed half a season final yr as a consequence of harm and hadn’t performed a significant hockey recreation since March eight, 2020.