The 18-year-old kid from Kitchener, Ontario continues to turn heads and impress the Winnipeg Jets organization. And why not? Mark Scheifele deserves all of the accolades that come with being a young star on the ice.
Friday night at MTS Centre, the 7th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft had his final chance to make an impression on Jets management, securing one final goal in the last pre-season game of the season.
Scheifele fired one in the net to tie it up during the Jets-Nashville Predators match-up in front of a sold-out crowd of 15,004. It also didn’t hurt that his stick was barely cool from doing the same thing three times prior. It’s safe to say securing four goals not only put points on the board, but earned Scheifele the reputation of potentially becoming a keeper.
“I love the kid. I absolutely love the kid,” head coach Claude Noel gushed in his post-game news conference. “And I think our whole organization does.”
Now comes the waiting game for Scheifele, as the Jets finalize their regular season roster before the October 9 home opener.
“It’s not in my hands anymore,” Scheifele said after the game. “I worked my hardest and I’m happy with my effort.”
Scheifele said he has confidence in his agent (Robert Hooper) that a ride back to Ontario to play with the Barrie Colts won’t be necessary.
“I want to be here so bad … and I gave it my all tonight.”
The Jets’ first-round overall pick racked up four goals and eight points in five games. Not bad for a rookie forward who not only has fans in his corner on the ice, but is becoming just as popular off of it with his glowing personality and positive attitude.
But it wasn’t just Scheifele receiving the graces of coach Noel Friday, the overall team has impressed him collectively as a unit.
“They’re a smart team. They’re smarter than I thought,” Noel added after a 3-2 shootout loss to the Predators.
The Jets now work to regroup before the home opener against the Montreal Canadiens on October 9 (4 p.m., CBC).