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Player Review: Mark Scheifele

Colorado Avalanche v Winnipeg Jets Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

Mark Scheifele is an odd player for the Winnipeg Jets. He’s been the team’s first line centre for years, but recently he has been showing his new limitations. He does not engage much defensively anymore which is a major problem when he is playing the minutes of a number one centre and plays in key situations including on the penalty kill. So what should the Jets do?

First and foremost, Scheifele can still produce at even strength, but at what cost defensively. Much like Blake Wheeler, Scheifele still has something to give, but he needs to figure out how to help at both ends of the ice. Scheifele could remain a difference maker if he would only engage with the team fully while playing instead of just worrying about offence. His production might go down, but his effectiveness would go up. He would no longer giveth and taketh away, but mostly just giveth. It would be glorious.

Secondly, with Scheifele there is the possibility that he wants to be traded. He did not state that he wanted to stay at his year-end press conference and said he needed to talk to general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff. The fact Scheifele was not willing to say he 100% wanted to stay spoke volumes when he said it and should be taken into account. It doesn’t mean he is definitely getting traded, but it also does not mean that he will definitely be moved.

To recap: Mark Scheifele needs to re-commit on defence and play less in general. It is not a bad thing if he is brought back, but he could be traded which is also not the end of the world, but it would be a blow to centre depth. If the Jets keep Scheifele, they need him to be committed to defence and to be willing to play a different role including playing defence next year. If he is, then he is still a good enough player to not be actively shopped.