Name: Mark Scheifele
Drafted: 2011 1st round (8th overall) by Winnipeg
Winnipeg shocked the scouting world when they took Scheifele over Sean Couturier with their first ever pick as a franchise this summer. Statistically, it looks like it was probably the wrong call, but the optimist in me keeps repeating that every player has a sample size of 1.
While Scheifele doesn’t have the upside of a Couturier, I think he has a reasonable floor. Even at his worst I think he is comfortably a second line center and while some people (who admittedly are better hockey scouts than me) don’t think he can be a #1 center, I do.
Scheifele doesn’t have a tool that would be considered plus-plus, but he has a lot of good ones. His vision on the ice is excellent, as is his passing ability. At 6’2″, 182 lbs he could use some filling out but I think he will as he ages. His shot has been a lot better than I originally thought it would be and he has handled the puck a lot better than I expected as well. He looks like a lock for Canada’s WJC team this winter.
The big question mark with him is his skating. He has really heavy feet and poor top end speed. Still, he looked shiftier and better in short spurts than I expected when reading about him. I don’t think he’ll get to the point where his skating is ever a plus, but I think it can turn into an average tool. Regardless, his hockey sense is his best tool, and it’s what will take him to the NHL. The rest will determine whether he plays on the first or second line.