Eventually, NHL scouts are going to wake up to a thing about forwards under 5’11 that has largely been true for the past couple of years:
They’re a lot better than their size suggests.
Alex Debrincat led the Blackhawks in goals. Kailer Yamamoto turned into a solid depth forward for an otherwise moribund team outside of it’s luminaries. Johnathan Marchessault is currently duking it out with Cole Caufield for the “western” conference title. Nathan Gerbe at 5’4 is still in the league where much of his draft-mates have begun to metriculate out of the league, if they haven’t already. Brad Marchand exists. The size of the fight in the dog has been proven, over and over, to be far more useful an indicator of success than the size of the dog in the fight.
So today, we take a look at a dog who’s got quite a lot of fight packed into his 5’8 frame.
Stankoven’s first impression is that of a massive pain in the rear for any team to try and contain. He’s a high-speed, high-acceleration skater whose hands and offensive instincts are especially well-honed, willing and able to put a powerful wrist shot on-net from anywhere, even if it means he has to go in tight to the goaltender do it. He even likes to be a little demon on the forecheck, where his low center of gravity and high-speed forces the opposing defense to make mistakes. His play recognition is also pretty next-level, perfectly willing to help out against established forechecks with his stick and with his body, forcing opponents to the outside and creating defensive zone turnovers with ease.
Indeed, Stankoven when he’s at his best, is a problem.
Where Stankoven has work however is in his skate stride, which is a bit shorter than usual and robs him of truly game changing speed, and it can be a little rough as a result. And while I made an impassioned reminder that size matters not, he is pretty skinny for 5’8, and that could really get in his way at the pro level. Further, he’s not exactly a dude who does a lot of playmaking, so one drafting him should take care to try and remember that he’s a goal-scorer; he is a shoot-first, ask questions later type of forward.
Finally, and this part wasn’t really his fault...but his draft season was an absolute nightmare, in that it started later than pretty much any player on the draft board eligible for the first round, and as a result he’s only played a combined 13 games this year for both Kamloops and also Canada’s World Junior squad. Outside of injured players, he’s played some of the least amount of games in the first round, which either helps or harms his case, depending on your viewpoint. He’ll be fresher than some prospects, but that also means he’s lost valuable development time he’ll have to make up quickly.
Drafting Stankoven means dropping him in front of a weight machine and a grill and trying to get his weight up, for the most part. Stankoven is definitely late first round talent, but whether that means 20th overall or just scraping against the 2nd round varies wildly depending on how much you take his physical and sample size into consideration.
Personally speaking, if the worst thing that needs to be done to get a player into the NHL is “tell him to pass more” and “feed him steak and veggies with every meal”, I wouldn’t mind a player like him in Black and Gold.
- 20th by EliteProspects’ Consolidated Rankings
- 26th by EliteProspects
- 20th by FC Hockey
- 32nd by Neutral Zone
- 18th by McKeen’s Hockey
- 31st by NHL Central Scouting among North American Players
- 29th by SportsNet
- 21st by Recruit Scouting
- 23rd by Dobber Prospects
- 12th by Draft Prospects Hockey
- 28th by Smaht Scouting
- 21st by The Puck Authority
- 44th by TSN (McKenzie)
|2017-18||Yale Hockey Academy U15 Prep||CSSHL U15||30||57||33||90||6|
|Yale Hockey Academy Prep||CSSHL U18||3||3||0||3||0|
|2018-19||Thompson Blazers U18 AAA||BC U18||38||49||52||101||36|
|Canada Red U17||International||5||4||0||4||2|