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Scheifele Jets to Stardom




Scott Macumber of Inside Edge Hockey News

            The Winnipeg Jets finished last year on a real high, making the playoffs for the first time since returning to Winnipeg. Yes the post season didn’t go as well as planned with a first round sweep at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks.

            Winnipeg started this season with the same passion that they ended their season in April, this season has been disaster after disaster. First Ondrej Pavelec went down with a major injury putting him out until January leaving the goaltender duties to Michael Hutchinson who could not return to the same glory he had in the previous season.

            Connor Hellebuyck took over when Hutchinson was not doing well in between the posts and he and partner Hutchinson together were not holding the Jets in the playoff race, then the unthinkable happened Andrew Ladd was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks.

            Brian Little is also out and still out with a back injury that he got while playing against the Tampa Bay Lightning and with that many injuries and Ladd being gone one good thing the Winnipeg Jets have been doing is calling up rookies from the AHL giving six players an NHL debut this season.

            But what else do the Jets faithfully fan base have to look forward to this season…… how about the rise of Mark Scheifele. The 7th overall pick of the Winnipeg Jets back in 2011 has not had the career many thought he would have.

            Scheifele has done better, after being drafted Scheifele had great training camps for the Winnipeg Jets but didn’t have what it took to crack the roster thus Scheifele spent an extra two years in the OHL with the Barrie Colts.

            After an early playoff exit in the OHL in 2011-12 Mark Scheifele spent 10 playoff games with the St Johns Ice Caps of the American Hockey League getting his first pro point with 1 assist, Scheifele again had a great training camp but failed to crack the roster and was set to Barrie after four NHL games with the Jets

            Scheifele again had a stellar year in the Ontario Hockey League finishing the season and his junior career with 79 points in 45 regular season games and a further 41 points in 21 playoff games, which had Winnipeg Jets fans excited.

            Scheifele entered into his third NHL training camp fully expecting to be sent down to the minors and was ready to start the season with the St Johns Ice Caps, instead Scheifele was given the number 55 and was giving a spot on the Winnipeg Jets roster.

            The Winnipeg Jets first ever draft pick was now staying with the team full time and Scheifele didn’t waster anytime becoming a professional hockey player Scheifele had a season full of growing pains as most stars do but he finished the season with 63 games played and 34 points 13 goals and 21 assists and a plus 6 rating.

            Scheifele for the first time got to miss rookie training camp in Winnipeg and was able to attending the full training camp and Scheifele and the rest of the Jets were excited by the fact that both Scheifele and now Jacob Trouba were on the roster.

            The second season is what is commonly known as the sophomore slump season that a lot of star have a hard time with and most people expect second year players production to slump a little in this season but Mark Scheifele is a student of the game and his production went up.

            Scheifele went on to have a great season like most of the Winnipeg Jets and Mark netted himself 49 points 15 goals, 34 assists and a plus 11 rating, Scheifele was a star on the rise and not only on the score sheet Scheifele had gained the trust of his coach and was seeing time on the power play and penalty kill.

            Mark Scheifele got his first taste of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs although the Jets got owned by the Anaheim Ducks, Mark played in all 4 games that the Jets played and was able to get his first playoff point with an assist, unfortunately the Jets were eliminated.

            Scheifele was now entering his third year with the Winnipeg Jets and one of the most important years of his very young career a contract year, Scheifele was playing the final year in his entry level deal.

            Mark Scheifele started the year slow and it worried the Winnipeg faithful and a year of ups and down for the whole team didn’t seem to help Scheifele by the time March rolled around the team was dealing with an uncertain goalie situation, Ladd being traded and of course Brian Little being injured.

            Scheifele has stepped up to the plate during this first two weeks of March. Scheifele has been able to up his production during the absence of Brian Little including getting his first NHL hat trick against the Montreal Canadiens and in front of the MTS faithful garnering him second star of the week for the NHL.

            Scheifele is sitting with 21 goals and 21 assists for 42 points this year and lets the entire Winnipeg Jets roster with a plus 16 rating, with only 20 games remaining Schiefele is having a career year and can go into negotiations knowing that his production has gone up three years in a row.

            Mark Scheifele will be a star in the NHL for a long time and while this off season will be a hard one for the Jets, they will need to sign a star to a new contract and the rumor mill is turning saying that the organization is wanting a bridge deal for two years and Scheifele is looking for the team limit of five years. Only time will tell.


* Photo Credit - USAToday Sports Images



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