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Logan Stanley is big. The Winnipeg Jets defenceman stands at 6’7” and is expected to be a brute physical force, but he isn’t. Instead, Stanley plays like a big man who likes to shoot the puck and not hit guys. Why is there? There is the possibility that he does not want to suffer from Big Man Penalties where he gets called on something because he is bigger than the other guy. There is also the possibility that he was never a physical player before he hit a growth spurt and the idea of a physical defenceman was thrust on him.

So is Stanley miscast? I would say yes. He isn’t a physical player and he does like to shoot a lot. Now all those shots have resulted in some goals, so all is not lost. But it does beg the question: why are big players expected to be physical players, but also expected to not be penalty machines? This is a question that is not unique to Winnipeg. This idea that size=hitting hurts all players, especially when physical play is the idea of withstanding and controlling traffic versus hitting people.

There are unique players in the NHL whose size belies their playing style both in “playing bigger” and “playing smaller”, but what if that is not a rejection of the expectation of how they are “supposed” to play and instead are playing the only way they know how. It’s the smaller players who are scrappy because they constantly go into the dangerous areas and win puck battles, and it is the big guys who don’t just “hit someone” because they are big.

This rejection of playing style ostensibly makes the game safer, but it requires teams to make an adjustment on how they view big players and their ability to play based on their merit and not their size. It’s the idea of drafting a small, skilled player over a bigger player who lacks skill. It is allowing bigger players to play more skilled games and contribute more on the offensive side of the puck. Logan Stanley appears to be miscast because he is cast as the player people view his size and not the style of play he has played since turning professional and before that as well.

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