In this second installment of the MLHS 2011 NHL Draft preview series, we’re going to take a closer look at Mark Scheifele, the Barrie Colts’ two-way centre who has seen his stock climb drastically over the past couple of months. Scouts describe him as one of those well-rounded, hard-nosed players who just love to compete night in and night out. Once viewed as a second tier prospect, Scheifele has silenced critics with a standout OHL season and now finds himself poised to be a Day One selection at this year’s draft.
The Basics: Reliable playmaking centreman from the Barrie Colts; 22 goals and 53 assists for 75 points in 66 games played.
Strengths: Scheifele is one of those players coaches love: he works hard every night, possesses a well-rounded game and manages to positively influence a game in a variety of ways. Offensively, he can effectively use his his large 6’3 frame and surprising agility to protect the puck and play a strong puck possession type of game. Mark loves playing with the puck on his stick and always seems to make calm, intelligent decisions in all three zones. He displays impressive playmaking instincts, vision and smooth stick-handling ability. His skills may be underrated after being asked to be a primary offensive option for a terrible Barrie team. Scheifele never takes a shift off and will do whatever it takes to win: whether that’s chasing down a loose puck, back-checking to break up an odd man rush or absorbing some punishment to make a play in front of the net.
Weaknesses: Thanks to his complete skillset, it’s hard to find any one area about Scheifele’s game to criticize. The biggest question surrounding Scheifele is likely one regarding his ultimate NHL upside, which at this point, seems rather limited. Can he produce enough offense to be a top flight offensive player? Probably not, but that possibility does exist if he continues to get stronger. He can also get caught into too much of a pass-first mentality at times, passing up on excellent shooting chances in an effort to set up a teammate. He’s certainly willing to use his body to make a play, but Mark could stand to be a little more physical and play with a bit more of a mean streak. Scheifele’s skating is passable at the moment but that is another area upon which he could work on in order to really take his game to that next level.
Draft Day Outlook: There are a few out there who are already calling Scheifele the Ryan Johansen of this year’s draft class: a well-rounded player whose character, work ethic and intelligent game could see him go significantly higher than expected. Mark really turned some heads at this year’s World Junior U-18 Championship, delivering an inspiring effort centering Canada’s top line in Germany and perhaps alleviating concerns regarding his ability to step up his offensive production. Originally projected to go somewhere in the mid-second round a few months ago, Scheifele is now a legitimate mid first round candidate. If he continues to trend upward, Mark could go as high as just outside the top ten come draft day.
Previous Draft Profiles: