Why You Should Be Careful With Mark Scheifele

Mark Scheitele
Mark Scheifele’s emergence as a top center this season has also led to a big increase in his fantasy value. But while he does provide plenty of value in points-only leagues, Scheifele contributes very little in other categories, significantly dropping his actual fantasy value.

The Winnipeg Jets season hasn’t gone exactly like they would have hoped. With only 69 points through 71 games, the Jets find themselves at 24th overall in the standings. They’ve given up the second-most goals in the league and their goaltending has been shaky at best, combining for a .902 save percentage when the league average is .913. But despite the negatives, there are also plenty of positives to look at. One of these is Mark Scheifele, who has dominated this season as the Jets’ number-one center and emerged as one of the league’s best playmakers. However, despite his high point totals, in fantasy hockey leagues that count several more categories other than goals and assists, Scheifele doesn’t provide nearly as much value. His flashy point totals have raised his stock but Scheifele’s peripherals are still very weak, reducing his actual fantasy hockey value.

Drafted seventh overall by the Jets in 2011, Scheifele instantly entered the Jets organization as one of their top prospects. And though he would be returned to the OHL for the next two seasons, Scheifele honed his game in the minors in preparation for the big leagues. Scoring 63 points in 47 games for the Barrie Colts after a quick four-game stint with the Jets, Scheifele would go on to improve upon his totals in the following year, scoring 79 points in two less games.

Finally ready for the NHL, Scheifele debuted full-time in 2013, where he saw a bit of a limited role as a fresh twenty-year-old player. Scoring 13 goals and 21 assists, Scheifele had a modest rookie season while averaging a little over 16 minutes of ice time a game. The following year would see Scheifele’s responsibility increase as he was given more opportunity and more ice time, improving his point totals to 49 over 82 games.

Yet until that point, Scheifele was still far from the superstar he is today. His 49 points were only the 90th most in the league and he was still regarded as a sleeper amongst fantasy hockey circles. It would be in the next season, last year’s campaign, where Scheifele’s breakout would begin.

Scheifele’s start to the 2015-16 season was right in line with most projections, as his 22 points in his first 35 games averaged out to around a 52-point pace. Now another year older with more experience, a very slight increase in points was expected. However, nobody expected Scheifele to become one of the league’s most offensively talented centers. Yet by the second half of the season, Scheifele caught fire and began dominating the NHL to the tune of 39 points in his last 36 games. Only three other players (Joe Thornton, Sidney Crosby, and Patrick Kane) had a higher points-per-game rate than Scheifele. And where in the beginning of the season he was averaging around 17 minutes of ice time per game, Scheifele was now seeing over 20 minutes a game regularly and was one of the top point producers in the second half of the season.

There were some doubts as to whether or not Scheifele would be able to sustain this production but this season he’s proving he can keep up the pace. With 70 points in only 68 games, Scheifele is tied for the 7th most points in the NHL and is tied for the 15th most goals. He’s also only one of eight players to be averaging over a point per game and is once again averaging over 20 minutes of ice time.

This is great for poolies who drafted him considering that there was the chance Scheifele wouldn’t be able to continue the blistering pace previously set. Drafted on average with the 54th overall pick in fantasy hockey leagues, Scheifele is providing top-10 production in goals and assists.

However, as great as Scheifele’s been with tallying points, that’s almost all he provides in fantasy hockey. For those who participate in points-only leagues, Scheifele is one of the top players to own. But in more common leagues that count other categories such as shots, hits, and more, Scheifele’s value significantly decreases.

Ever since he entered the league, Scheifele was a very clean player and never racked up a lot of penalty minutes. In his rookie year, he only recorded 14 penalty minutes and this season he’s on pace to record only around 42. His current 36 penalty minutes aren’t even in the top-150 in the NHL. And the same thing can be said about his hit totals. Since his sophomore season, Scheifele’s hit totals have been declining to the point where he only has 44 in 68 games this year. On pace to barely break 50 hits by the end of the season, Scheifele’s hit totals are tied for the 418th most in the league.

And even if your league doesn’t factor in hits or penalty minutes, Scheifele doesn’t provide much value in shots, blocks, or faceoff wins. With only 137 shots through 68 games, Scheifele just barely averages two shots a game. While it won’t kill anyone in their fantasy league, Scheifele’s shot totals don’t help too much either. Ditto his blocked shot totals and his faceoff wins. His 30 blocks are only the 147th best in the NHL and his faceoff winning percentage is a measly 43.6%. He does take a lot of faceoffs which helps boast his faceoff win totals but with 535 faceoff wins, Scheifele is only 37th overall out of all centers in the NHL, behind names like Jay Beagle, Adam Henrique, and teammate Adam Lowry.

As great as Scheifele’s been in the NHL this season, he has a much smaller impact in fantasy hockey. His point totals are great but beware of Scheifele’s weaker peripherals if you’re not in a points-only league. His low hit, shot, penalty minute, and faceoff win totals can be more harmful to your team than you think.

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