First Round Targets: Mark Scheifele



One of the younger draft eligibles this year with a March 1993 birthday, the 6′ 3" Mark Scheifele was a rookie for the dreadful Barrie Colts this season and finished second in scoring behind Colin Behenna (who was two years his senior). Like Zack Phillips, Scheifele is mostly projected as a middle-tier first round pick with many of his positives are balanced with negatives despite some decent counting numbers.

The rangey center managed 75 points in 66 games for the Colts, the second best PPG pace amongst regular skaters on the club. He got scored on a lot (-22 rating), but so did everyone else on Barrie: the team finished last in the OHL’s Eastern Conference and had a goal differential of -117. The aforementioned Behenna scored 88 points to Scheifele’s 75, but finished the year a ghastly -42. Third best scorer Steven Bayers was a -50. Tim Carnevale only appeared in 33 games for the Colts and racked up a -22 rating in that brief time. So taken in context, Scheifele’s -22 number probably isn’t all that bad.

His ES/PP splits and percentage of team offense aren’t very good, however. Thirty-five of his 75 points came with the man advantage, meaning he finished with the worst ES scoring percentage of any guy we’ve looked at so far (50.7%). Remember that Sven Bartschi finished above 70%. Again, this may somewhat be a function of the quality of the team’s involved, but it still strikes me as mark against Scheifele.

His percentage of team offense wasn’t awful with the kid accounting for 75 goals out of 222 in the 66 games he played (33.8%), but it’s not overly notable either. 

Corey Pronman of Hockey prospectus had this to say about Scheifele:


Scheifele is a low-ceiling but highly projectable player without a true standout tool. His skating grades as below-average, and while his mechanics are fine, his feet are just somewhat heavy and he doesn’t have an NHL-level top speed. Scheifele’s puck skills are decent, and while he doesn’t bring any form of flashy stick handling or stretch passes to the table, he can handle the puck at a moderate level and make the right distributions bringing the puck up the ice and on the power play.

He also shows good puck protection skills along the side boards. Scheifele projects as a solid-average to above-average physical player as while he has room to fill out, and he’s already notably strong and works well along the walls. His hockey sense is above-average and it’s what will drive his value towards the highest level, as he anticipates the flow of the game well, rarely turns the puck over, and plays well in his own zone.


Strengths: Smart player, good puck protection skills

Weaknesses: Average puck handling, average skating

Pronman has Scheifele as the 29th best prospect heading into the draft. NHL central scouting sees him as the 16th best NA skater (just behind Phillips and McNeill) while the ISS placed him 18th (ahead of McNeill at 21 and Phillips, who didn’t even make the top-30).

Given what I’ve read and seen on Scheifele, he strikes me as the type of guy the Flames would be targeting if they were picking in the mid-20’s again, but at 13 he sounds like a stretch. His scoring was highly dependent on the PP this year and he doesn’t seem to have a lot high-end tools beyond hockey sense and a tall frame.

  • Emir

    I agree, good for a pick in the late first round but something that the Flames should pass on at 13. But if we traded one of our second rounders to move up to get a late first, then its not a bad player to after if he is there.

    I like scorers from weak teams, it shows they can get it done themselves so putting them with better players can help out a lot. However, the skating grade is of concern to me still.

  • Emir

    I posted previously that I would like to see the Flames pick up Mark McNeill or Mark Scheifele.

    It’s funny but CSS had McNeill, Phillips and Scheifele ranked 14th, 15th and 16th respectively among North American skaters. Iss has Scheifele ranked 18th overall and McNeill 21st overall. Who can figure these guys out?

    Scheifele was reported to be Canada’s best forward at the World U18 Championships. I don’t know what sort of gauge that is in terms of predicting future performance. I see that ISS describes his skating as “Very Good” and that he can “drive to the net better than maybe any other player in the draft”.

    I’ve seen him on some game highlights and he seems to have a great deal of composure with the puck.

    • It goes to who how difficult this stuff can be. Watching a prospect a number of times in one season during his formative years and then projecting that out is going to be rife with complications with a low signal-to-noise ratio.

      Frankly, it’s kind of amazing that the consensus guys are often as CLOSE as they are in their assessments of players outside the top-5.

      • Agreed. The more I read this stuff, the more I’m coming around on Bartschi and Zabinejad, assuming they fall to us at the 13 spot. I’m of the view that Bartschi is more likely to fall to that spot.

        By the way, I would like to compliment you on your writing and your spots on the FAN 960. I’m impressed with your critical approach to the NHL and the Flames, in particular. It’s refeshing. Keep up the good work.

  • Vintage Flame

    Think I’d pass on this guy. Not crazy about his write up. Good that he is a smart player, but his weaknesses weigh heavy for a 13th pick overall.

    I think his lack of speed is a concern, and the fact that he doesn’t have a good ES percentage. 50% is not good for a rookie that won’t see time on the PP for a significant period of time.

    Gotta stick with Mike McNeil for the pick.

    This is great though Kent! You guys are doing a great job, keep up the good work.

  • Vintage Flame

    I think I would honestly like to see Calgary take a guy ranked higher than 13th that has slipped down, rather than a guy they might see “something” in that is ranked in the 20-30 range.

    Is that narrow minded of me to think that? Not sure. Maybe my mind gets changed with some more of these profiles as they are posted.

      • Vintage Flame

        I would love either of Landeskog or Huberdeau.
        What do you think would be the chances of say offering Colorado our 1st and 2nd for their first? Not sure if a player would have to be included, but that would still give Col the 12th and 13th picks and they would pick up another 2nd rounder. Feasible? Or is Col just as messed up as we are and can’t afford to give up 2nd overall?

  • icedawg_42

    Hmmm…big, heavy feet, low top speed, low projected ceiling, good at mucking on the wall…This kid has Darryl Sutter written ALL over him.

    McNeill’s still my guy though. Vintage, I cant see the Flames having anything of interest to convince Colorado to give us their pick…almost every trade scenario I can think of, has the Flames trying to (or rather needing to) dump salary. Hopefully I’ll be proven wrong.

  • Given the history of the Flames Drafting, you know they’ll draft a bust (thanks Button) and if he is any good, they’ll keep him in Abby, bring him up once in a while, play him 2 min a game on the 4th line for a couple years and then say, “hey this guy just didnt pan out.”
    Erixon is no dummy.

    • Vintage Flame

      Well it’s been talked about ad nauseam that Button wasn’t the guy calling the shots at the draft, it was Sutter. Darryl was also the guy that kept the rookies and prospects in the farm, and had control over what players played and their ice time, so I think this draft might be a bit different.

      I was one also saying that the Flames should fire Button for his drafting, until I heard that he was pretty much strong-armed by D. Sutter. So I think I won’t quite condemn this 13th pick just yet.

  • Horrible description for Mark Scheifle from that guy at hockey prospectus.
    Scheifle is one of the best pure passers in this draft.
    A lot of people forget that this is a guy who is a rookie in the OHL, having played Junior B last year. When I first saw him this year, I thought he skated really well for a guy his size and that he was a top notch playmaker as he had 3 beautiful assists. The concern for me was that he seemed a tad soft and one dimensional in that he didn’t drive to the net and get involved in the forecheck as much as you like to see from a big man. I thought to myself that he a Joe Thornoton Lite.
    He really evolved and became a much more involved player as the season progresse, improving his forechecking skills and openin up more room for his linemates by shooting the ouck more and driving to the net to keep defenders honest. His play in his own zone also improved dramatically. The reason I wouldn’t mind drafting Scheifle is that he has the potential to become a true number one centre. Maybe not an elite one, but a solid guy that can be a top 15 guy in league scoring at this position an be a solid two way guy. Similar to Marleau or Kopitar.

  • I really like these reports, but is there any chance for requests? I’d really like to see one done on Grimaldi. TSR ranked him #18 on their final list, a big jump from #26 on their mid-term grades. He could potentially be a swing-and-a-miss, but the reward could be huge and it’d be nice to see a pure-skill player in Calgary’s system again.

  • Vintage Flame

    Ya i believe Butter had too much power, thought he was God and if it didnt work out it was because God didnt want it to work out. I still wasnt Button around before Darryl? I just have no faith in him. And if you look at the new GM he is an EPIC fail at drafting as well. He has no history of bringing up young players. Those that did come up most were drafted before he was in Tampa and they were only played because they had no choice.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Nolan: Feaster’s faults in drafting can be laid at the feet of his staff. He’s not a hockey guy, he knows it, and he relies heavily on those who surround him to make good choices for him. Granted, he had control over who the scouts were for TB, but they may already have been in place when he took over.

    • SmellOfVictory

      Plus who knows what size the scouting staff was in TB or if they even had a real one either. Look at Buffalo, the first thing the owner did was get some real people rather than just watching a lot of video.

      As for him having control over the scouts, he probably still had a budget, and if he cut scouts on a contract he would be shorthanded in his budget replacing them, so maybe he never got his own guys.

      We’ll see what he and our scouts do this time around.

    • SmellOfVictory

      I’m not sure that I’m a Todd Button fan but, that said, I have the impression that Darryl Sutter called the shots when it came to the draft. While Backlund may not be Patrick Kane, we have to keep in mind that the Flames took him 24th overall in 2007 and he’s a pretty servicable NHL-er. The jury is still out on Nemisz and, while he may have betrayed the Flames, Erixon looks like he’ll be an above average NHL player.

      We didn’t have a draft pick until the 3rd Round last year and we ended up with Max Reinhart (64th overall). While I appreicate that his performance in the 2010-2011 WHL season and playoffs may not translate in a decent NHL career, I think we have to be impressed with Reinhart and his potential. While he may be more of a longshot, I keep hearing that Michael Ferland is showing some promise as well.

      I guess the point I’m trying to make is that the Flames aren’t the NHL norm when it comes to drafting but, then again, our previous G.M. traded first and, especially, second round picks away like they were candy. I’ll bet every Head Scout in the NHL will tell you he wishes he had 10 picks in the top 60. Let’s see how the Feaster/Button regime does this year. I don’t think the Flames have ever had 3 picks in the top 60. As well, didn’t they overhaul their scouting staff in the last year or so?

  • cross16

    Not a very generous write up on Schiefelle. I don’t think they give his skating quite enough credit becuase he is a better skater than McNeill in my books who is ranked higher. I also think the upside with Schiefelle is higher than Corey thinks. He was Canada’s best forward at the under 18s and was more dangerous than McNeill. I’d put Schiefelle over McNeill and would be fine with the Flames taking Schiefelle at 13 if it came to it but ideally I’d like them to trade back some and get a 3rd. I think Schiefelle’s upside is actually very good and well worth the 13th pick provided that one of the other top forwrads doesn’t slide.