What to expect from Mark Scheifele

Lost in the midst of contract concerns surrounding Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien are the expectations for budding top-six centre, Mark Scheifele.

Scheifele played all 82 games of the 2014-15 NHL season, mostly as the second line centre.

The former Barrie Colts star is heading into his 3rd season as a full time NHL player. What can Jets fans expect from the 22 year old?

Let’s take a look…

Entering into the 2014-15 season as a sophomore player, Mark Scheifele had the task of playing as a second line centre. His most common linemates were Blake Wheeler, Michael Frolik, and Mathieu Perrault, All three wingmates were great possession players. By the end of the season, Scheifele had tallied 49 points, 15 goals and 34 assists. 

Looking at the table below, you can see Scheifele is on a better point per game pace than in his rookie year. Scheifele posted a 0.54 point per game pace during the 2013-14 season, but in his second season as a Jet Scheifele was on a 0.60 point per game pace.

While 49 points may not seem elite, as a second line centre it is pretty impressive considering the deployment Scheifele received. 

Season

Gm

G

A

P

Corsi 

For %

Player 

Shooting %

Time On Ice / Game

Quality of 

Competition

2014.15

82

15

34

49

56.4

8.8

18.6

0.724

2013.14

63

13

21

34

53.7

13.0

16.4

0.065

2012.13

4

0

0

0

53.7

0

11.5

2011.12

7

1

0

1

54.5

20.0

10.4

             

(Quality of Competition only shown for past 2 seasons due to sample size.)

A useful statistic to us for context is Scheifele’s Quality of Competition (QoC).

As you can see, Mark Scheifele’s QoC took a jump this year as he was sheltered less. He is progressing well as a player while playing against some of the best hockey players. In fact the top-five players he faced the most were Shea Weber, Roman Josi, Duncan Keith, Jonathon Toews, and Marian Hossa. Those are good players to be trusted to play against.

Scheifele’s Corsi For percentage is also moving up. What this means is Scheifele is driving play in his opponents’ end and more often than not the Jets see more pucks directed towards the opposite net than their own. His improved linemate situation definitely assisted in his improved two-way numbers, but Mark was still aable to do this against some of the best defensive players in the league without anchoring these linemates.

You will also notice that Scheifele’s shooting percentage fell down from the year prior. Scheifele’s 8.8% shooting percentage ranks at 323rd in the NHL. It is too early to tell whether Scheifele’s rookie or sophomore year is more of Scheifele’s true-talent level, but we can say with some confidence Scheifele’s scoring pace is unlikely to fall downward.

Couple this scoring with his solid possession stats and the Quality of Competition he faces, this is good news for the Jets for the future.

Scheifele also had more starts in the defensive zone this past season.

scheifele-zone-starts

The above graph shows us that Scheifele was relied upon more in the defensive zone this season than in his rookie season, 2013-14. Paul Maurice gave more defensive zone assignments in lieu of neutral zone starts, displaying his trust in the young centre.

One of the few issues that Scheifele has had since he was drafted was his overall strength, especially in his lower body and balance.

 Carl Maloney said this about Scheifele as prospect,

If there is one knock on Scheifele as a top level prospect it might be his skating and overall strength.

In an interview with the Winnipeg Sun, Mark Scheifele made this remark about his strength, 

You know, I’m still a little kid. So obviously I still want to get stronger in all areas of my body. Obviously targeting legs is a big thing for hockey players, core and legs is going to be the biggest focus, but it’s going to be, you know, obviously Gary has a good plan for me and it’s worked for the past two years and I’m excited to go back to him.

If Mark Scheifele can overcome his strength issues, then other teams had better watch out. 

In Conclusion 

The Jets can be hopeful for continued improvement in Scheifele’s ability to drive play. Projecting point totals is more difficult though with variables such as ice time, linemates, and injuries, but similar point is a reasonable expectation for Scheifele. Improvement though is not out of the question if we see growth in Scheifele’s even strength scoring.

Mark Scheifele is a pretty good young player. Whether Scheifele tops out as a second line centre or moves into the realm of top-line centre is all that remains to be seen. 

All numbers provided by HockeyAnalysis.comBehind the Net, and War on Ice

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