Dallas rookie Stankoven brings out cheering section to face Vancouver

The former Kamloops Blazer star is looking like one of the steals of the 2021 NHL Draft, with six goals and 11 points through 15 games

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It’s looking more and more like the Vancouver Canucks missed out on Logan Stankoven at the 2021 NHL Draft, and they have plenty of company in that regard. 

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The 21-year-old Dallas Stars rookie forward from Kamloops plays his first game against the Canucks at Rogers Arena tonight, coming in with six goals and 11 points in 15 games since being called up from the AHL’s Texas Stars.

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He was the leading scorer in the AHL when he was promoted thanks to his 24 goals and 57 points in 47 games.

Stankoven was a star in junior with his hometown Kamloops Blazers, and there was some buzz about him being a possible first-round pick for the 2021 NHL Draft leading up to the selection day. TSN’s Bob McKenzie, for instance, pegged him as the No. 27 rated prospect ahead of the draft, while Elite Prospects slotted him at No. 26. 

Stankoven is speedy and highly skilled, but at 5-foot-8 and 178 pounds there are constant questions about his size. He slipped into the second round and wound up going at No. 47 to the Stars, who happen to be owned by Vancouver business man Tom Gaglardi, who also owns the Blazers.

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Among the players picked just in front of Stankoven was Danila Klimovich, a winger who went No. 41 overall to the Canucks. He’s battled injuries and inconsistency this season with Vancouver’s AHL Abbotsford Canucks.

Stankoven is an early candidate for one of the steals of the 2021 draft.

“Every kid wants to go in the first round,” Stankoven said at the Stars’ morning skate on Thursday. “That was my goal. 

“It was a disappointing day when I wasn’t called in the first round but, looking back, first round doesn’t mean anything. You still have to earn your contract. That’s what I’ve tried to do.

“I kind of saw it coming, with my size. It’s something that’s out of my control. I just try to go out there and prove people wrong. It’s all about hard work.”

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There was talk on X of 150 family, friends and Blazer fans making the trek from Kamloops to watch the Stars take on the Canucks. There was said to be 25 Stars jerseys, complete with Stankoven and his No. 11 on the back, shipped out for people to wear at the game.

And Stankoven admitted that he shelled out for some of the tickets.

“I tried to contribute as best as possible,” he said. “Lots of people helped me to where I’ve gotten today. It’s nice to give back and recognize those people.

“I don’t know exactly everybody that’s coming. I know I have a good chunk of family coming.”

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Stankoven was a Canucks fan growing up and had dreamed about playing an NHL game one day at Rogers Arena.

“There was lots of good playoff runs that I was able to watch as a kid. It’s nice to be in this building and on the ice for once,” he said.

Stankoven says that Gaglardi was one of the first phone calls he received on draft day after Dallas general manager Jim Nill called to welcome him to the Stars. 

Stankoven doesn’t find it strange playing pro for the same team owner he had in junior. In fact, he grew up playing against Gaglardi’s sons in minor hockey and spring hockey.

“I’ve known that family since I was five or six. We go way back,” Stankoven said.

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Stankoven won the CHL player of the year in 2021-22 after amassing 45 goals and 104 points in 59 regular season games and then 17 goals and 31 points in 17 playoff match-ups. Wyatt Johnson of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires was a finalist for the award. He was the Stars’ first-round pick in the 2021, going No. 23 overall, and he’s Stankoven’s linemate of late, along with veteran Jamie Benn. 

Stankoven was awarded the Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy as WHL humanitarian of the year for the 2022-23 season.

Stankoven played 179 regular season games over five years with Kamloops and sits 13th in Blazers history in goals (115) and 12th in points (260).

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reference: theprovince.com

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