Mark Scheifele’s play was heavily critiqued earlier this season with some believing he should be sent down to the AHL for a bit to learn the pro game. It was of course yours truly that preached patience and that approach has begun to pay off.
Scheifele now sits with 11 goals and leads all rookies with 20 assists leaving him but 4 points behind Colorado Avalanche’s first overall selection Nathan MacKinnon who leads all rookies with 35 points. Tyler Johnson a rookie centre for the Tampa Bay Lightning sits second with 34 points.
I’m going to go on record and say that by game 82 Mark Scheifele will not only have overtaken those two players but will have a solid cushion. Over his last 21 games he has tallied 26 of his 35 points. It may be unrealistic to expect him to continue his point per game pace over the remaining 27 games but I fully expect him to do just that finishing the season with 65 points.
MacKinnon meanwhile has 17 points over his last 21 games and Johnson also has 17 points but will be hurt by the return of Steven Stamkos and a reduction in playing time and featured role. Chris Krieder of the New York Rangers who sits a point back of Scheifle has but 10 points over his last 21 games and rounding out the top five is Boston Bruins defender Torey Krug who has 12 points in his last 21 games and 29 points overall.
No rookie is playing as hot as Mark Scheifele is currently and throughout his career in the OHL he always got better towards the end of the season. One other thing of note is out of the top five in rookie scoring Scheifele has only 4 power play points. Johnson, MacKinnon, Krieder and Krug have 8, 10, 11 and 15 respectively.
Lastly the Avalanche, Lightning and Bruins are all locks for playoff spots, while the Rangers are fighting for one. Once the fire sale starts in Winnipeg ice time and opportunity will go up for Scheifele while the likelihood is it will go down in favor of veteran players who are conditioned for an 82 game season and long playoff runs for the other rookies.
It may be close now but by the end it’ll be no contest.
Who do you think will win the rookie scoring race?
Become an MVP with Winnipeg Whiteout and never miss a thing.