10. RC Mark Scheifele – Barrie (OHL)
DOB: Mar. 15/93 | Shoots: R | Height: 6.03 | Weight: 200lbs
Midterm Rank: 15 | League Rank: 5th OHL | Country Rank: 7th Canada
For those who have been following us throughout the year, I’ve made no secret that Mark Scheifele is a player I have a lot of time for. The rangy 18-year-old center is still a work in progress, but I firmly believe that his upside is up there with most of the high-end guys in this draft, and that if things pan out, he has the potential to be a very good NHL player.
Scheifele took a bit of an unconventional route to the OHL as a rookie with the Colts this season. After being selected in the 7th Round of the 2009 OHL Priority Selection, Scheifele quickly established himself as a promising player, spending the 09/10 season with the Jr. B Kitchener Dutchmen of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL). With a team leading 55 points in 51 games, Scheifele began to make his presence known and gave a verbal commitment to Cornell University.
With his mind set on the NCAA, Scheifele’s hockey course deviated last summer when the Spirit traded his rights to the Barrie Colts in a transaction that sent goaltender Mavric Parks to the Saginaw. Nobody was quite sure what to expect from the lanky center on a rebuilding squad, but Scheifele quickly made people realize that the Kitchener, Ont. native is for real.
I had the opportunity to see Scheifele a number of times this season, serving as one of the few bright spots on a very young Barrie Colts squad. He’s a player that you definitely appreciate more with an increased frequency of viewings, as he may not stand out right away. Scheifele has size, albeit he is still very lanky, but he does use his reach to his advantage. He’s a bit of an awkward skater, although he moves around with adept speed. His agility is above average and he is shifty in an out of traffic. One of the biggest concerns with his skating is adding strength as he is a bit weak on his skates and is susceptible to being pushed off the puck too easily at this point.
Offensive upside with Scheifele is very high and something that will entice any NHL team. He’s an extremely smart player and has very good on-ice vision and does a good job of distributing the puck in the offensive zone, especially with nifty passes with tight windows. Scheifele competes hard and does a good job engaging in board battles and protecting the puck with his long reach. He doesn’t shy away from contact and wins a lot of board battles and can absorb contact fairly well. I would like to see him shoot the puck more; as he is very underrated in that department in my opinion, but that’s something that will come in time. Scheifele has a smooth release and does a good job getting shots off in traffic (especially in the slot area), and he did a good job of showing that side of his game as he led the Canadian U18 team in goals this Spring.
Scheifele’s two-way game will be a point of improvement for the 6’3” pivot next season, as he certainly has room to grow in that regard. I think he’s a decent two-way center at this point, but he needs to ensure he is consistently picking up his man and ensuring that his defensive responsibilities are taken care of. He also needs to improve his faceoffs in the future as I have seen him get dominated in the circle from time to time, although it did improve as the season progressed.
All things considered, I really believe that Scheifele is a player that will be a great addition for any team looking for a big right-handed center with top line potential. He’s still very raw at this point, and certainly needs to add some much needed strength before turning pro, but Scheifele is a very good offensive player and he makes everyone on the ice with him a better player. He is certainly in contention to be a player that surprises on draft day, and one that has a high ceiling moving forward.
Pros: Creativity, Skill Level, Offensive Awareness, Size
Cons: Strength, Explosive Speed, Faceoff Ability
Skill-set Comparison Playmaking version of Jeff Carter