CHL Notebook: Stars prospect Stankoven stepping up in WHL

Future NHL stars are developing in the Canadian Hockey League this season. Each week, will highlight a few of the top NHL-affiliated prospects in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League and the Western Hockey League.

Logan Stankoven took a big step at the Dallas Stars training camp this season, and the Stars expect to see an even bigger one in the 19-year-old prospect’s future.

The center, a second-round pick (No. 47) in the 2021 NHL Draft, looked overwhelmed at times during training camp last season. But a year of growth produced a far different result.

“This year when he came into camp, he was dominant,” Stars director of player personnel Rich Peverley said. “He was dominant in Traverse City [NHL Prospect Tournament], he was really good at main camp. That’s the growth in the person and the player.

“When I see that type of progression, I have no doubt in my mind that he’s coming back with extremely high motivation … he’s going to come in and he’s going to be probably one of our best players in training camp next year.”

Stankoven has looked like one of the best players in the WHL this season. He started the season with a 12-game point streak, his 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) lead Kamloops, he has eight multipoint games, and his average of 2.17 points per game is third in the league.

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Stankoven was fourth in the WHL with 45 goals last season, when he was named WHL and CHL player of the year. But Peverley said the Stars want Stankoven to have even more of a shoot-first mentality, and to be more comfortable playing in the hard areas in the offensive zone.

So far he is averaging 7.1 shots on goal per game, up from 5.4 last season.

“I think being a threat from all areas of the ice, having a shooting mentality, kind of keeps the goalies on their toes,” Stankoven said. “Since I came back [to Kamloops], I’ve really tried to work on being more of a shoot-first player. That doesn’t mean being selfish and not using my teammates, but if I have a clear chance to shoot, then rip it and try and find the back of the net as much as possible.”

So far the Stars are happy with what they’ve seen and are excited about the future, which this season will likely include a spot with Canada at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship — Stankoven helped Canada win the 2022 WJC in August — and a berth in the Memorial Cup, which Kamloops is hosting.

“He’s a great kid,” Peverley said. “He’s one of the most motivated people and players I’ve ever worked with. He’s got a burning desire to be successful. He’s a fantastic player. He’s gone back, he’s shooting the puck more, he’s getting to the hard areas of the ice, he’s using his linemates. He’s just a hard guy to play against.

“He’s not the tallest guy in the world (5-foot-7, 170 pounds), but he’s strong on his feet and uses his body well and he plays with a ton of energy. He’s done really well so far.”

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Nolan BurkeC, Sarnia (Nashville Predators): The 19-year-old forward was passed over in the NHL Draft in 2021 and 2022, but after scoring an OHL-high 15 goals in his first 16 games, Burke signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Predators on Nov. . 14. Burke is second in the league in goals, and is second on Sarnia with 24 points (15 goals, nine assists) in 17 games, including 10 points (eight goals, two assists) during a five-game point streak that ended Friday . He had his first OHL hat trick, including the game-tying goal, in a 6-5 shootout loss to Guelph on Nov. 2.

David SpacekD, Sherbrooke (Minnesota Wild): Spacek has 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) during a nine-game point streak, the second longest by a QMJHL defenseman this season. That includes his first three-point game (one goal, two assists) in a 6-0 win against Val-d’Or on Nov. 3. The 19-year-old is eighth among QMJHL defensemen with 18 points (three goals, 15 assists) in 18 games. The Wild selected Spacek in the fifth round (No. 153) of the 2022 draft, after he went unselected in the 2022 NHL Draft.

Jared DavidsonC, Seattle (Montreal Canadiens): Davidson has 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists) during a 10-game point streak. He has six multipoint games during the streak, including four with at least three points. The 20-year-old has 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in 12 games. Davidson had 35 points (17 goals, 18 assists) in 82 games from 2019-21 and was passed over in the NHL Draft in 2020 and 2021, but was selected by the Canadiens in the fifth round (No. 130) of the 2022 draft after he was eighth in the WHL with 89 points (42 goals, 47 assists) in 64 games last season.

Photo: Allen Douglas

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