As the World Juniors hit, they were one of the best stories in the OHL. Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg’s first round pick in 2011, and the undrafted Tanner Pearson were arguably the two hottest players in junior hockey. Scheifele was scoring almost two points per game after being cut by the Jets, while Pearson was picking up a goal every game and averaging more than one assist per contest.
It wasn’t a surprise when both made the roster of Team Canada at the World Juniors.
Unfortunately, since the world’s biggest junior tournament, both have found their offense drying up.
The following are the scoring totals for both players before and after the World Juniors:
|Oct. – Dec.||19||13||23||36|
|Jan. – Present||23||7||12||19|
|Oct. – Dec.||26||26||40||66|
|Jan. – Present||23||9||9||18|
For Pearson, this recent downturn could have a major impact on where he’s selected in the NHL Draft this summer. The overage forward has been mentioned as a potential first round pick after being passed over previously in the draft, but while he’s managed to get his name into the discussion it could just as easily drop out of it if he doesn’t keep scoring.
For Scheifele, draft position isn’t a concern, but his diminished offense can’t be overly pleasing to the Jets. Winnipeg doesn’t exactly have a wealth of high-offense forwards in the system right now, and they desperately need Scheifele to deliver offensive punch at the NHL level in the not too distant future. After kicking out the jams in the early going, Scheifele’s drop in production may reflect on his ability to put up numbers in the majors.