Mark Scheifele has been on fire for the Winnipeg Jets, scoring 33 points in 31 games since returning from injury in late January. His 33 points, are tied for third behind only Sidney Crosby and Joe Thornton in that time frame. What’s even more impressive is that only 5 of those points have come on the power play. In total this season he has 56 points in 68 games, an average of .82 points per game.
Scheifele, the 7th overall pick in 2011, has always had the potential to become a number one center and after Bryan Little went down with a fractured vertebrae, he got the chance to prove he could do it. With Little injured and the departure of Andrew Ladd, Scheifele had to step up. He’s answered the bell and more averaging almost 20 minutes of ice time. He, along with Nikolaj Ehlers and Blake Wheeler have formed one of the deadliest lines in the NHL in the last month. Ehlers has almost doubled his point total scoring 16 points in 21 games, during this time frame, compared to his 19 points in the 48 games before. Wheeler has been steady all year and has continued to produce with Scheifele as the number one center with 28 points in 31 games.
Scheifele’s 2.35 points per 60 minutes at 5 on 5 ranks seventh only behind Jaromir Jagr, Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Pat Kane, line mate Blake Wheeler, and Joe Thornton according to Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com. Scheifele also has 58 takeaways, which is 12th in the league. He takes on average 2.7 shots per game, which isn’t great but not bad none the less.
Now Scheifele isn’t a stud in all categories though. He struggles in the face off circle only winning 44.4% of his draws. Face offs come with time though. The league leader in face off percentage and one of the top defensive forwards in the league, Ryan Kesler, didn’t even win 50% of his face offs until his fourth year in the league. Scheifele doesn’t hit very much either only recording 52 hits on the year.
Scheifele has dynasty owners and Jets fans alike excited for the future. Scheifele is right up there with the best players in terms of points per game and points per 60 minutes. Even though he’s producing like a star most may not see him as one. It’s likely that you can snag Scheifele in the 4th or 5th round of a start up. Scheifele is an early “sleeper” to make an even bigger jump next season.