It was another great year for Mark Scheifele who averaged a point per game for the second season in a row. However not everything went according to plan as Scheifele dealt with a substantial injury in the middle of the season which limited him to a career low 60 games. Today’s Pilot’s Logbook takes a look at the up’s and down’s of Scheifele’s season.
#55 – CENTRE
6’3″ / 207 lbs / Age: 25
Current Contract Status: Signed through 2023-24 ($6,125,000/yr)
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PLAYER’S SEASON IN REVIEW
It could be said that Scheifele had his coming out party in 2016-17 when he scored 82 points in 79 games and firmly grasped the number one centre role from Bryan Little. There was not much left to prove for Scheifele as he had been on a steady incline since he began his career and has elevated his game to the point of being a true number one centre in the league.
Scheifele started the season on the right foot as he scored in the first three games of the year and had 29 points in the first 25 games. The entire first half of the season was going great as Scheifele had settled in between Wheeler and Connor and they were finding great chemistry.
The good times couldn’t last forever though, and Scheifele went down with an upper body injury after sliding awkwardly into the boards against the Edmonton Oilers.
#NHLJets fans are quickly going through the 5 steps of grief after that Scheifele injury.
Denial: "That doesn't look *that* bad.."
Anger: "DAMNIT, SEASON LOST!"
Bargaining: "Roslovic's time maybe?"
Depression: "Probably Matthias"
Acceptance: "Typical Winnipeg sports"
— JetsNation (@NHLJetsNation) December 28, 2017
Thus began the life without Scheifele for nearly a month and a half. The Jets survived the injury to their top centremen with a team effort and especially with the play of Blake Wheeler who switched from his natural right wing to centre ice. Once Scheifele returned, everything was back to normal as Wheeler moved back to the wing and Scheifele picked up right where he left off.
When looking at the stats, Scheifele’s seasons was quite interesting. He averaged a point per game to go along with decent advanced stats. Scheifele’s Corsi and Fenwick are right in line with the team average which might be a little cause for concern considering Scheifele is supposed to be a driver of the play and a leader on the team. While the point totals are great and the advanced numbers are average, the real interesting part of Scheifele’s game is his scoring splits.
The easy part when looking at these splits is the benchmark Scheifele set during the season. Because Scheifele scored a point per game we can view the other splits through this lens. For instance, when playing at home, Scheifele scored 1.25 points per game and when he was on the road he only had .72 points per game. This was not the only unique split. When playing against Western
Conference teams Scheifele had 1.17 points per game versus .75 points per game against the Eastern Conference. There is quite the descrepency in these splits but when looking at his totals throughout the year he had exactly 1 point per game before and after the all-star break. These stats seem to point in the direction that Scheifele is much better at home than on the road, and is more engaged when playing within his own conference. In regards to various months of the year, Scheifele had no trouble recording points any time as he scored at a very similar pace each month.
One of the other unique things about Scheifele is his extremely high shooting percentage. When looking at the players with the most goals over the past three seasons only one player in the top 50 has a higher shooting percentage than Scheifele does. Just for fun, the one player higher than Scheifele is fellow Jet Patrik Laine who has a 18.0% shooting percentage compared to Scheifele’s 17.5%. While extremely high shooting percentages almost always regress to the league average, Scheifele (as well as Laine) might be the exception. When looking at the shot location for Scheifele it becomes clear why he scores at such a high clip unlike Laine who scored at a high percentage almost entirely due to his deadly shot.
Majority of Scheifele’s shots come from the centre of the slot which provides him the best opportunity of scoring every time he touches the puck. Scheifele is also a selective shooter as he doesn’t rack up many shots mainly because he doesn’t try to force anything without an open lane.
Scheifele’s entire offensive game adheres to this principle. Obviously Scheifele’s linemates being Wheeler and Connor are extremely skilled, so they are able to pass and cycle the puck until a high danger opportunity presents itself. The benefit of playing with such a fantastic passer like Wheeler is that he is able to get the puck into the dangerous areas where Scheifele or Connor are waiting. This is evident by looking at where the team shoots from when Scheifele is on the ice. Obviously both charts are similar but it highlights just how good Scheifele is at driving play to the dangerous areas whether he is shooting the puck or passing it into the slot.
Mark Scheifele was one of the few Winnipeg Jets who played in the first round sweep against the Ducks three seasons ago. This meant Scheifele at least had a little bit playoff experience compared to most of the squad who had none.
Scheifele did not have a great start to the playoffs. While he did score the opening goal for the Jets in game one, he was held without a point in game two and three. The turning point was after the first loss to Minnesota in game three and Scheifele was a new man going forward.
Scheifele went on an absolute tear to finish off Minnesota and steal game one from the Predators. Scheifele ended up scored seven goals in four games and looked unstoppable. Scheifele continued his goal scoring against Nashville as he scored again in game five and then twice in the deciding game seven.
The interesting part about these goals is that they were almost exclusively scored on the road. Scheifele only had three of his goals at home while he scored eleven on the road. This is even more intriguing because Scheifele had a tough time scoring on the road in the regular season as outlined before with his scoring splits. This scoring outburst from Scheifele also put him in the record books for the most road goals in a single postseason. While Scheifele was also eyeing the most goals total in a single playoffs, the Jets didn’t make the finals which cut the opportunity short.
Most Road Goals in Single Postseason in #NHL History:
Mark Scheifele (2018) – 11
Sidney Crosby (2009) – 10
Joe Mullen (1989) – 10
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) May 17, 2018
The future is extremely bright for Scheifele who continues to show why he is a true number one centre in the league. Throw in one of the team-friendliest contracts in the entire NHL and Scheifele might currently be the most valuable asset across the league. While most players who score a point per game are making closer to $10 million, Scheifele is locked down for another five seasons at $6.125 million.
Anyone else think Mark Scheifele at $6.125 M per year for six more seasons just might be a freakin' bargain for the Jets? Holy mama.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 17, 2018
There isn’t much left to prove for Scheifele as he is one of the best players on the Jets and a leader in every way. There isn’t many holes in his game and he will continue to be one of the premier centres in the NHL for a long time.