With the NHL in the middle of the lockout, teams can take a longer look at their prospects and see where the future is headed. The Winnipeg Jets are no exception. General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has used the lockout to take a closer look at the future of the hockey club. The World Junior Hockey Championships in Ufa, Russia, has given Cheveldayoff and fans an opportunity to see two such prospects.
Mark Scheifele was the Jets first round pick in the 2011 entry draft, and is expected to be one of the top scorers for the Canadian team at the tournament. The Barrie Colt junior was expected to crack the Jets lineup this season, but the lockout changed that idea. At the World Juniors, Scheifele was moved from his natural centre ice position, to the wing so he could play on the top line with Edmonton Oiler Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Florida Panther prospect Jonathan Huberdeau. Known as the lockout line due to the fact that the trio would be playing in the NHL if it wasn’t for the work stoppage, they combined for 10 points in Canada’s 9-3 rout of Germany. Scheifele pocketed 2 goals in the opener, and looked very comfortable playing alongside Nugent-Hopkins.
What must excite Cheveldayoff and Jets fans is Scheifele’s nose for the net, and his puck sense around the goal. He is in proper position and is always ready to receive the pass from a talented playmaker. While his skating could use some work, Scheifele does have the sniper’s touch, which has enabled him to score 21 goals and 48 points for the Colts this season. This extra year in junior under the tutelage of Colts coach and Jets legend Dale Hawerchuk, plus the experience that goes with playing at a high pressure event like the World Juniors will only enhance Scheifele’s career in the NHL.
2o12 first round pick Jacob Trouba is making some noise for the American team at the World Juniors. The ninth overall pick for the Jets picked up a goal in the USA’s 8-0 whitewash of Germany. Trouba also showed a physical presence, laying out a German forward earlier in the contest. While not overly big, Trouba is strong, and will fill out when he matures. Trouba wasn’t expected to make the Jets this season, but his future is very bright. He is composed and controlled in his own zone, and his very agile with great feet. Trouba also possesses a blistering shot, which could be used on the power play if needed. His physicality and mean streak will serve him well in the pros. He needs a bit more time, and a stint at the University of Michigan will do him some good, but Cheveldayoff must be pleased with Trouba’s progress.
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