News on twitter from various quarters this morning is the Jets have signed first rounder Mark Scheifele to an entry level contract. It’s pretty standard procedure for new prospects to get inked relatively quickly, but the timing suggests the youngster may have convinced the club to keep him around rather than send him back to junior.
Although there have been some well founded concerns this offseason about the choice of Scheifele at 7th overall, the kid has managed to put some of them to bed with his impressive showing during the Jets pre-season. Frequently one of the more dangerous offensive players on the ice for Winnipeg depsite his youth and average skating, Scheifele displayed the hands and hockey sense that allowed him to score 22-goals and 75-points for the Barrie Colts last year.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Scheifele is in Winnipeg to stay. The new contract means the club can choose to audition the rookie for a nine-game windown before sending him back to junior without starting the clock on his entry-level contract. That would be the prudent move by the organization since most teens struggle to keep their heads above water once the puck drops for real. Unless Winnipeg is convinced Scheifele is this seasons Jeff Skinner and is going to garner 60+ points in the club’s top-six rotation, then junior is probably the more apt destination for him at this time.