Before you get upset, remember that there’s reason to keep Scheifele in Winnipeg, however also keep in mind that Mark Scheifele needs to play in a top six role. Right now, he can’t succeed in that role at the NHL level. I think he should be sent down to the AHL.
Scheifele is projected to be a strong two way player for the Jets, so his game is not all about offense. Playing in the top six, the team needs him to produce. This means getting points.
In the first game of the season, on a line with Evander Kane and Devon Setoguchi, Scheifele had his moments and looked impressive. He even scored a big goal.
In the second game of the season he added his first assist in his NHL career.
Since then, in ten games he has only produced one assist. Now, production can’t be fully measured by the stats. It’s not all about goals and assists. It’s also about producing offense by creating scoring chances.
Some times a player will be snake bitten where they are creating chances but for whatever reason, a bad bounce here or there, and they aren’t producing.
This is not the case with Scheifele. There are very few shifts out there where he has looked dangerous offensively.
Watching him play I don’t get the sense that the puck just isn’t going in for him. There is a simple reason why the puck isn’t going in: he isn’t creating chances.
One very valid argument for keeping him is the fact that we have no one better to replace him with. I’m not sure if this is the best argument for keeping him in Winnipeg. The long-term needs to be considered just as much as the short-term.
Alexander Burmistrov is an excellent exmple of this. He has spent time in the NHL because he was the best player available, and this has done nothing but upset his development.
Team management has been adamant that they aren’t going to rush Scheifele. For two years Scheifele had to work hard in junior to get the chance he has now. Unfortunately, I don’t think he is ready for it and the team needs to do what is best for his long-term development.
In the short-term, the team can move Jokinen up to the second line and Slater up to the third. Cormier can then replace Slater on the fourth line.
It’s not an ideal solution, but the best one available to the team with what they have.
Even though he is a two way player, going forward the Jets are going to need Scheifele to establish his offensive game at the highest level. I don’t think he is going to be able to learn this at the NHL level, playing the way he has.
Going down to the AHL is not the end of the world, and it might not even be for that long.
It might even just be the best thing for his career.
Bobby Ryan, drafted second overall by the Anaheim Ducks (behind Sidney Crosby in 2005) played 70 regular season and 35 playoff games in the AHL before becoming an NHL regular. He didn’t become an NHL regular until he was 21, but since then he has been a consistent 30-goal scorer.
Mark Scheifele is 20.