It seems like just yesterday that we were watching Mark Scheifele fall down when he was touched by the wind to seeing that Scheifele is makes the Winnipeg Jets tick. He is their number one centre, their best forward, and most versatile player. There used to be a time when Scheifele was protected as a forward and now he faces other teams top lines with ease.
Much like Kyle Connor yesterday, Scheiefele also has his Corsi stats under 50%, but the team struggled so much in the latter half of the season, very few if any will have pulled off having positive possession numbers. That does not take away from how good Scheifele has become and how important he is to the Jets success.
Scheifele scored 84 points this year including 38 goals in 82 games. He also played on the penalty kill. He has gone from a young centre who was protected and given favourable zone starts to a reliable player that can be counted on when the Jets needs someone to do something.
If there is one criticism of Scheifele, it is that he was tied to Blake Wheeler for the entire season and that one is not his fault. While Wheeler and Scheifele have been great in previous seasons, this season Wheeler struggled and Scheifele was tethered to him. This was especially troubling early on as that was when Wheeler was having the hardest time.
Scheifele’s season was a success no matter how you look at it. He showed that he is the type of player that helps his team make the playoffs and win in the playoffs. He is their best forward and is on a bargain contract for five more seasons. The Jets have gotten their money’s worth with him and are making that surprise pick in the 2011 draft look like they knew exactly what they were doing.