Common Sense Prevails: The Kid Goes Down



As reported earlier this afternoon, Mark Scheifele is headed back to Barrie after his brief turn in the NHL. The Kitchener native had an impressive pre-season before scuffling against the grown-ups, potting one goal during his seven game vignette with declining ice time as the games progressed.

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In my view, there really wasn’t much of a decision to make. Scheifele isn’t remotely ready to be a serious contributor at the NHL level, and given the potential contract ramifications of starting his UFA clock this year, Cheveldayoff had to go this route if he was actually interested in furthering his number one pick’s long-term development while protecting the interests of the club.

The young man clearly wasn’t a legit NHLer at 18, and that ended up being the primary factor in determining his fate for the season, which is a nice change from the manner business was conducted before the team moved north. Atlanta had kept their last three first rounders on the NHL roster, irrespective of their maturity level, and to no good end. It almost certainly has set Zach Bogosian back, and the evidence is fairly slight that Kane or Burmistrov benefited from the rushed start to their NHL careers.

Atlanta was in the business of using hope to try to sell tickets in an unfriendly market place, of course, so there was always the sense that considerations beyond the purely developmental appeared to trump doing the best thing for the players. The Thrashers also might have needed bonuses to keep the team over the salary floor, so they did have plenty of extenuating circumstances that appeared to skew their decision making process. Still, the net effect is that the club was trading control over players’ 25-26 seasons for their 18-19 years. That’s no way to run a franchise.

Winnipeg is exempt from having to waste the teenage years of their draftees in the quest to sell tickets, obviously, so they’ve taken advantage of their currently comfortable situation to do the right thing for the development of a player that the franchise needs to do well over the long term. There were no losers here, to my mind. Scheifele got a few hundred grand in bonus cash to take back to Barrie, and the club got a chance to assess their top forward prospect under the gun for a few weeks.

In the end, whether Mark Scheifele was the right pick this summer will play out as it does, but there shouldn’t be any argument that this afternoon, at least, the right move was made.

  • MC Hockey

    Thanks for the update Robert. I am a bit surprised he is not staying a couple games longer to hit the maximum 9 before a decision is forced. He does have offensive talent but glad to ssee the Jets are NOT like the Oilers in forcing young talents to develop IN the NHL when they will clearly get more ice-time in junior or the minors. In my opinion, the development of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and perhaps Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (too early to tell) may stunt their “overall growth” as a hockey player in ways such as learning to play defense better, etc. When the Ducks won the Cup, Getzlaf & Perry & I think Dustin Penner ALL had half a season in the minors. Our Edmonton rivals will never learn!

    • 24% body fat


      you are wrong on so many levels. Schieflie is not ready for the nhl even offensively. 1 point, wicked. He should not have been drafted where he was with couturier on the board.

      now as for the oilers, hall and nugent hopkins are on a much higher level than schieflie so saying they are rushed in is absolutely stupid. Those players need to be challenged to develop not held back. And as for eberle he spent all his possible years in the juniors and played a handful of games in the ahl, and did not start until he was 20. The are getting tonnes of icetime.

      • MC Hockey

        Thanks for making my points for me, typical Oiler fan not understanding. First, I DO AGREE that Sheifele should go to minors (if you read my comments) so he can learn skills to make him better when he comes up next year. My “stupid” point about Oilers being rushed is that “cannot miss super stars” like Eberle and Hall should have been over point-a-game players but were 0.62 and 0.65 PPG last year – not that great, sorry! And they are certainly NOT the top players in ice time last year (Hall 3rd, Eberle 6th) or this year (Hall 3rd, Eberle 4th) on their team. Again, LISTEN before you make silly comments. Both these guys should be 90 point players every year but being forced to play in NHL last year brought underwhelming results because they were not fully ready. Don’t be surprised if Nugent-Hopkins tails off and is sent down, could still happen.

        • 24% body fat

          first of all, not many 18 of 19 year olds get a point a game. next the oilers were horrific last year, and both eberles performance and halls was good and progressive for rookies. Now as for 90 point players, hall will probably be, but I never suggested that eberle would be nor think he is a lock to do so. this isnt the leafs where they think kadri is going to be 90+ points

          next RNH is a different case because he is very small in terms of weight, so he may go up and down for his performance. But he is a cerebral player with vision and he is not going to benefit from out thinking a bunch of 17 year olds in the whl. If they do not have the ice time for him than send him down, if so he will stay.

          Tyler seguin did not go back to juniors or get and significant amount of icetime last year, yet he looks fine. Why, because he is one of those top teir players.

          Schiefele, eberle, kane, gagner are not. And rushing these players in will and can hurt development. Eberle was (so far) brought along the slowest and is looking to be the best out of the group. Kane brought in too early as was gagner because their teams needed them. Kane had a descent rookie year and gagners was really good, so at the time sending them down looked stupid.

          But right now not one of the jets prospects have done what the oilers ones in this article have in terms or performance, so why would you suggest that another club was rushing in picks (two elite level ones for that matter) and yours was not.

    • 24% body fat

      Can you tell me how old Eberle is? Or the last 1st overall player to be sent back to juniors the next year? Also Eberle HAS AHL experience but thanks for trying 😛