The Winnipeg Jets have decided to send top prospect Mark Scheifele back to the OHL Barrie Colts for the remainder of the season. The talented young center had not registered a point in four NHL contests this season and will get valuable playing experience and more minutes in juniors than he would have with the Jets moving forward.
The Jets have displayed great patience with the seventh overall pick from the 2011 draft, who had 22 goals and 49 points with Barrie during the lockout. Winnipeg also gave him a look at the NHL level last season, and he netted his first goal, playing a total of seven games. Scheifele scored 22 goals and added 53 assists for the Colts as a first-year OHLer in 2010-11. In the season after he was drafted, he scored 23 goals and reached 63 points, despite playing in 19 fewer games. His steady production at the junior level hints at the possibility of NHL success, but with the Jets unlikely to contend this season, returning him to the OHL was the right move at this time. He is well-regarded for his size, speed and skill and has excelled while being matched against the opposition’s top centers night in and night out in the OHL.
Scheifele got to join the AHL St. John’s IceCaps for 10 playoff games last season, and posted an assist. With Scheifele’s four games in the NHL this season, nine of the top ten players selected in 2011 have played at least one game at the NHL level in 2013. Only the New York Islanders’ Ryan Strome, who was returned to the OHL Niagara IceDogs, has yet to reach the professional level.