Previous Rank: 5th
Mark Scheifele's rookie season was full of highs and lows. The season started with high expectations, but was initially met with questionable play. There were mistakes, there were goals against (and few for) and there was talk of an AHL assignment.
Then Mark Scheifele figured it out.
After amassing five points in the first 24 games of the season, Mark Scheifele went on a run. He posted 13 points in his next 14 games. Eventually, his production slowed, but he still managed 29 points in his final 39 games of the season (on pace for 61 points per 82 games). That is solid production.
But then came the injury. Mark Scheifele was sidelined for the season's final 19 games, leaving everyone hoping for more.
This year, Scheifele looks to build off his late momentum. He looks physically bigger and should be stronger. It will be interesting to see whether or not he can sustain the scoring pace he hit after his early season slump. The list of centres that have scored 60 or more points at the age of 21 isn't long and doing so would place him in some pretty elite company. He will also need to continue to develop the defensive side of his game.
There isn't much room to climb on this list, but a big year could see Mark battle for top spot on the next list.
AIH Authors' Thoughts:
Mark Scheifele is a very cerebral hockey player. His has high end vision, an elite shot and some nice hands. His skating is okay, but not on par with his other skills. He appears to have added bulk this offseason. This should help his physical game and it could help with his balance. Mark has the skills to be a top line centre, but he needs to prove he can both be consistent offensively and beat tough matchups over the next couple seasons. Lots to like here.
Scheifele is a wildcard for me, as I'm still not sold on him at all. Hopefully he has strengthened his "Bambi Legs" this offseason so that we can retire the #scheifeledown hashtag, but that remains to be seen. What also remains to be seen is whether or not 55 can maintain the pace he sustained for a short time last season as a top-6 centre. I'm rooting for him, but I'm honestly not sure he can do it in the West full-time. Prove me wrong, please, because if he can't then the Jets are screwed.
I am quite optimistic in regards to Mark Scheifele's upside, but it is a very cautious optimism at this point. Yes he did have a fantastic stretch before he was injured last season, but it was only a stretch. I refuse to accept that brief amount of time as completely indicative of who he truly is...yet. If he is deployed properly this season I think we can see Scheifele utilize his hands and play-making abilities to levels that has yet to be seen from a Jet, while slowly and carefully allowing him to develop a well-rounded defense aspect to his game. If he's put in situations similar to what we saw for the first few months last year though... I fear things could get ugly.
Daniel:Mark Scheifele possesses top-line hands and vision, a strong wrist shot, and elite skill. After a bit of a slow start to his NHL career, Mark Scheifele finished last season on a roll and demonstrated that the hype for the franchise's Great White Hope is warranted. This season, Scheifele will likely begin the year as the Jets' 2nd or 3rd line centre.
More consistent offensive deployment, a health Evander Kane, and some power play time should both help Scheifele maintain the scoring that he finished with last season. The next big step in Scheifele's development will be for him to consistently create offense on his own, as when his talented linemates disappeared last season, so did Scheifele's offense.
Scheifele's rookie campaign was quite the roller coaster. His lengthy pointless streak was alarming, but when he started to produce, he looked like the effective NHLer we all expected him to be. My belief is that he'll be a legit no.1 centre in his own right in no more than three years. I don't think his injury was in and of itself the difference between the playoffs and another early summer, but I do believe his injury impacted what the Jets were going to do at the deadline. It's a new season, and I've heard he's beefed up some, so with Kane and Wheeler, I expect a top line.
Mark Scheifele is an interesting case of a player being carried by his line mates, but having the skill to pull it off. When paired with two good possession players, Scheifele looked like a very good player, but when he was with even one weak possession player he struggled. Scheifele was good with Frolik and Kane, partially because Frolik was able to cover for him defensively and Kane is just good. This year will be a big year for him in terms of ability to play without Kane and Frolik if the team needs him to and for him to show that in his own right he is a top nine forward on the Jets.
In a recent interview, Maurice talked about how Scheifele learned the new breakouts faster than anyone else, and simply didn't make any mistakes. Mark is probably the most dedicated at studying the game of hockey, a student if you will. His pursuit of hockey knowledge is relentless, and you could see it through the year. He's the type of player that leaves no small detail unnoticed. I fully expect a 60 point season out of him.
Pilot's Logbook: Mark Scheifele
2013 Top 25 Under 25: Mark Scheifele