This is the first of an 8-part series evaluating how several of the Jets have performed against their recently signed contracts. In each article, I’ll look at the season or seasons that preceded the signing of their contract, who their comparables were at the time, and how they have performed since the new contract began. In evaluating the new contract performance, I will pull comparables, and use their average annual cap hit to determine if the contract turned out to be good value, average value, or poor value.
Rating the Contracts
Each contract will be rated on a scale from Great Value (5/5) to Terrible Value (1/5). The rating will be based on the difference between the original signed AAV, and the current market value.
Great Value: Current Market Value >20% higher than original signed AAV
Good Value: Current Market Value between 5% and 20% higher than original signed AAV
Average Value: Current Market Value between 5% lower and 10% higher than original signed AAV
Poor Value: Current Market Value between 5% and 20% lower than original signed AAV
Terrible Value: Current Market Value <20% lower than original signed AAV
Mark Scheifele had high expectations from Jets fans as the reborn franchise’s first draft pick in history, going seventh overall in the 2011 NHL Draft. Scheifele would immediately impress in his first training camp, cracking the opening night roster and playing in seven games in the inaugural season, scoring his first career goal in an overtime loss to Toronto. He spent the bulk of the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons with the Barrie Colts in the OHL, amassing 62 goals and 142 points in 92 regular season games, and adding 20 goals and 53 points in 34 playoff games.
He would stick with the Jets full-time beginning in the 2013-14 season, and would slowly show growth throughout the duration of his ELC. In his contract season (2015-16), Scheifele would set career highs in goals (29), assists (32), points (61), faceoff percentage (44.2%), Corsi (54.0%), and Fenwick (54.6%). He would finish the 3 full seasons of his ELC with 57 goals and 87 assists for 144 points in 216 games (0.67 P/G).
On July 8, 2016, the Jets would complete their biggest piece of business in the 2016 offseason, signing Scheifele to an eight year contract with an average annual value of $6.125 million. On the same day, Scheifele’s closest comparable, Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon would also sign a seven year contract with the Avalanche with an AAV of $6.3 million. In the same past three years as Scheifele, MacKinnon had put up 59 goals and 94 assists for 153 points in 218 games (0.70 P/G). Later that summer, two other young centremen would sign new long-term contracts – Jonathan Huberdeau signed a six year extension in Florida with an AAV of $5.9 million, while Sean Monahan signed a seven year extension in Calgary with an AAV of $6.375 million. At the time, Kevin Cheveldayoff appeared to get good value in a long-term extension with one of the Jets cornerstone pieces.
Since the Contract Began
Scheifele would continue his upward trajectory in his first season after signing the extension. In 2016-17, Scheifele would break the 30-goal plateau and eclipse a point per game for the first time in his NHL career, finishing the year with 32 goals and 82 points in 79 games. He hit the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career with this exciting overtime winner against Anaheim.
2017-18 was trending to be a similar season from a statistical perspective, until an upper-body injury suffered in a late December game against Edmonton cost him 16 games of that season. Even with the missed time, Scheifele once again put up a point per game for the second consecutive season, finishing with 60 points in 60 games. He broke out on the national stage in the playoffs, putting up 14 goals and 20 points in 17 games, including a playoff record 11 road goals, as the Jets made it to the Western Conference final.
In 2018-19, Scheifele picked up where he left off in the 2018 playoffs, putting together his second set of career highs in three seasons. He finished the 2018-19 season with 38 goals and 84 points in 82 games, which put him in the top 20 in the league in both goals and points. In a disappointing first round playoff exit to the St Louis Blues, Scheifele was one of the bright spots for the Jets, posting two goals and five points.
This season, Scheifele was on his way to a third point-per-game season in four years since signing his new contract, sitting with 73 points in 71 games when the season pause occurred. With 29 goals, he was likely to break the 30-goal plateau for the third time in four years as well. He was just starting to heat up when the season went on pause, recording points in nine of the final 11 games played for the Jets, with six goals and eight assists for 14 points in those 11 games.
The Comparables – Market Value Evaluation
When comparing Scheifele’s performance over the last 4 regular seasons, there are three main comparables. These are Toronto’s John Tavares, Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux, and Florida’s Aleksander Barkov. A comparison of their regular season stats is in the table below:
|Statistic||M. Scheifele||J. Tavares||C. Giroux||A. Barkov|
Based on the table, the average AAV over the 4 years for Scheifele’s comparables is $7,475,000. This is an increase of $1,350,000 compared to Scheifele’s AAV, or a 22% increase in market value compared to Scheifele’s original contract value.
When Mark Scheifele first signed his extension at the end of the 2015-16 season, many observers saw it to be a steal of a contract for the Jets and GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. Since then, Scheifele has continued to grow into the role of top-line centre for the Jets, and his performance has continued to elevate year over year. Because of his elevated performance, and the great work done by Chevy to negotiate a fair contract at the time of signing Scheifele, this contract has turned into one of the best value contracts on the Jets cap. If he continues to perform at this same rate for the second half of the contract, the Jets will happily need to shell out more money for Scheifele’s next big payday.
Rating: Great Value (5/5)