Mark Scheifele leads CHL pool for Winnipeg Jets

By Kyle West
Photo: Traded to the Barrie Colts before the beginning of the OHL regular season, Ivan Telegin has shown some excellent chemistry with first-round pick Mark Scheifele. (Photo courtesy of (Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

The Winnipeg Jets have eight players currently plying their trade in the CHL, none more high profile than 2011 seventh overall pick Mark Scheifele. They also have two players currently playing in the USHL.

OHL

Mark Scheifele, C, Barrie Colts
Acquired: 1st round (7th overall) in 2011

Fresh off a seven game stint in the NHL, Scheifele has been returned to the OHL‘s Barrie Colts to continue his development. With his first NHL goal under his belt and an incentive laden contract in place, Scheifele has given Jets fans plenty of reason to get excited about his imminent return for a longer stay.

In the meantime, Scheifele rejoins a much more competitive Barrie Colts team for the duration of the OHL season. Having propped up the league last year, the Colts were rewarded with phenom Aaron Ekblad to bolster the blue line at the OHL draft and have added some offensive support for Scheifele to work with. In the 11 games since his return, Scheifele has six goals and 14 assists and the Colts have established themselves as a competitive entry in the league.

Scheifele can also look forward to a leading role with Canada’s World Junior team later this year as a further boost to his confidence. Already a standout in the summer camp for Team Canada, Scheifele now finds himself in the demanding position of being the top center available for selection and will have the weight of expectation on his shoulders as Canada attempts to reclaim the gold medal on home soil.

Ivan Telegin. LW, Barrie Colts
Acquired: 4th round (101st overall) in 2010

Traded to the Colts from Saginaw, the big Russian got off to a sluggish start with his new team, as he recovered from injury. The return of Scheifele from the Jets has given the team a boost however and Telegin has begun to produce with six goals and six assists in 14 games. With imposing size and quick hands, Telegin is well suited to ride shotgun with Scheifele and the chemistry the two develop now could yield long-term benefits.

Telegin had a strong showing playing for Russia in the Subway Super Series and the experience seemed to bolster his confidence. Playing against Scheifele and the OHL select squad, Telegin had a four point night with two goals and two assists. While Jets fans were able to see their two star prospects go head to head on that night, Telegin and Scheifele could again line up against each other when Canada plays Russia at the World Junior Championships later this year. Both players should be key for their respective countries and the tournament should make every Jets fans holiday season a joyous one.

Julian Melchiori, D, Kitchener Rangers
Acquired: 3rd round (87th overall) in 2010

Signed to an entry-level deal in the off season, Melchiori gave Jets brass a long look at his poise and mobility through the preseason. Reassigned to the Rangers, the big blueliner has taken on added responsibility for the OHL contenders, especially now that his regular defense partner Ryan Murphy (CAR) is sidelined with a concussion. Melchiori has nine assists in 19 games so far this season with Kitchener and plays in all situations.

Capable of producing more offense from the point than he has shown, Melchiori may have to shake out of his comfort zone and take more risks if he is to progress his game to the next level. As a possible sign of his increasing maturity, Melchiori was the poster boy for the Rangers Movember campaign as fans were invited to "Grow a Mo with Melchiori."

Austen Brassard, RW, Belleville Bulls
Acquired: 5th round (149th overall) in 2011

A big winger who plays a north-south game, Brassard has shown flashes of a scoring upside greater than the Jets might have anticipated. While the majority of his goals come from in close and he generates offense more from graft than greatness, Brassard has shown he can use his hands for more than throwing punches.

Already with seven goals and nine assists in 22 OHL games, Brassard still projects as a checking line winger, but perhaps with bit more pop than initially predicted.

Cody Sol, D, Kitchener Rangers
Acquired: 5th round (125th overall) in 2009

Returned to the OHL as an overager, the 6’5 defender plays the role of protector for his younger Rangers teammates. One of the league’s toughest players, Sol has already reached his peak fighting size and weight and projects as a pro-level enforcer. Sol may yet develop enough mobility to become a bottom pairing defender, but a move to the wing could be in the cards when he joins the St. John’s Ice Caps in the near future.

WHL

Adam Lowry, LW, Swift Current Broncos
Acquired: 3rd round (67th overall) in 2011

Off to an exciting start in his third WHL season, Lowry has been an all-action figure with the Broncos. A fast-skater who hits like a train, the 6’4 winger also features in some of the most spirited tilts in the toughest of all the junior leagues. Much more than a pugilist, Lowry is the key to the Broncos’ top-ranked power play and leads the team with 18 assists in 24 games.

Zach Yuen, D, Tri-City Americans
Acquired: 4th round (119th overall) in 2011

Asked to take on more offensive responsibility for the Americans, Yuen has responded with four goals and seven assists in the first 22 games and is now the top scoring blueliner on the team. A smooth skater with the ability to lay out precision passes, Yuen has the ability to get off a booming shot and the composure to move the puck out of trouble while under pressure. Although standing just over 5’11, Yuen is a fitness fanatic and has a very compact and solid frame. One of the more intriguing prospects in the Jets pool, Yuen has the mental focus to set his blend of skills and athleticism on an exciting upward curve.

Kendall McFaull, D, Moose Jaw Warriors
Acquired: 6th round (155th overall) in 2010

The rock-steady defender has continued to play a no-nonsense game on the Warriors stingy defense. Although missing a handful of games through injury, McFaull has otherwise been a crease-clearing fixture for Moose Jaw. Although his offensive upside is less than limited, the big blueliner from Saskatchewan provides a much-needed physical presence on the back end.


USHL

Jason Kasdorf, G, Des Moines Buccaneers
Acquired: 6th round (157th overall) in 2011

The big netminder became a hometown hero when the Jets called his name in the sixth round of the draft last June. The 6’4 star of the MJHL champions from Portage-la-Prairie won over scouts for his fierce will to win and earned an invite to join the RPI hockey program in 2013. In the meantime, Kasdorf is battling to hang on to the starter’s job in Des Moines, a less than competitive program in the USHL. His 26 goals against in nine games have called into question his lateral movement and rebound control. No doubt the Jets want him to see plenty of shots as he develops and he will be playing behind a much tougher defense in RPI next year, when he begins what should be a long college career.

Tanner Lane, RW, Omaha Lancers
Acquired: 6th round (160th overall) in 2010

Committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha next year, Lane has settled into a local setting after being traded to the Omaha Lancers from the Fargo Force. A goal and four assists in his first five games calls to mind the scoring star from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota who dominated the high school circuit. A long term project, Lane has good size and instincts and with the right coaching, might develop into a useful offensive player during his college career.