At his end-of-season press availability, after the Winnipeg Jets ultimately missed the playoffs, Mark Scheifele raised some eyebrows around the league. The veteran forward explained that he wanted to know where the team was headed and that he would take some time to talk to his family and agent this summer. While the idea of a trade request was quickly rebuffed, some still wondered whether the Jets would explore a move this offseason, given the fact that Scheifele has just two years left on his deal.
Not so, according to general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, who told Mike Zeisberger of NHL.com this week that he expects Scheifele to be back on the roster in 2022-23. The Jets executive explained that the end of the season was an “emotional time” for the whole group after failing to reach the postseason and that his exit interview with Scheifele went well.
Eventually, Cheveldayoff will have to decide what the next path forward is for the Jets and whether Scheifele is part of it. He, captain Blake Wheeler and netminder Connor Hellebuyck are all scheduled for unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2024, potentially meaning this upcoming season is a make-or-break opportunity. The team doesn’t have very many long-term commitments and could quickly shift to a rebuild if things aren’t going well, though that would be a disappointing result for a group that many believed could contend for the Central Division crown this year.
Scheifele himself experienced another strong offensive season but critics will continue to point to a poor defensive effort as a big reason why the Jets struggle in the first place. Despite putting up 29 goals and 70 points in 67 games, Winnipeg was still outscored 78-69 at even strength with Scheifele on the ice and had an even worse expected-goal rate.
Still, 30-goal centers are extremely difficult to come by and usually command a price tag much higher than the $6.125MM cap hit that Scheifele will carry through the 2023-24 season. If the team were to make him available, there would certainly be interest even despite any defensive issues.
For now, it appears as though the big forward will be back in Winnipeg when the year begins. Under what coach and for how long remains to be seen.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images
Scheifele and Wheeler seem to be running the team, They both complain constantly and they were responsible for Laine’s exit, It might be time to get the toxic players out of town.
Exactly, both are supposed to be leaders but are locker room cancers……..beyond obvious. We’d be better off without them. Chevy, they gotta go!
Thanks to both of you for pretending to be insiders, when in reality you know nothing about the locker room dynamics. Oh, and you seem new to hockey, as your strategy of getting rid of your best players has never really been a solid blueprint for success.
Worked for the rangers..
They’re too dumb to play with themselves
plenty of examples
@super – Such as…?
They’re too dumb to play with themselves
moving on from st louis and lecavlier seemed to work out pretty well for tampa
stretching a bit but kessell and phaneuf out of toronto was beneficial
need the right gm and wont happen overnight
Sorry but I follow the Jets heavy, these are facts any real jets fan knows. Jets have a better record when they aren’t in the lineup, never mind adding team players they would be traded for. Fans and media call them out constantly for a reason
You seem new to hockey yourself, doghockey, if you think that Scheifele and Wheeler are the Jets’ best players. (I’d tab Hellebucyk, Connor and Ehlers, myself.) Wheeler’s starting to fade, and needed a hell of a finishing kick to do as well as get to 17 goals. He’s 35 years old, and we all know — or should — that big guys like him age faster than others. They will never get better value for him than now, his value is not going to be any higher than it is now, and if I were in Cheveldayoff’s somewhat wobbly skates, I wouldn’t want to be holding the bag when a player Wheeler’s age goes into sharp decline.
Scheifele? He never has been able to play good defensive hockey. Now that was — possibly, maybe — excusable when Connor Hellebucyk was playing like the reincarnation of Terry Sawchuk (to name a tolerably decent native Winnipeger). It’s not now. Like Wheeler, his value’s never going to be higher, and he’s on an attractive contract for a scorer of his skill. In today’s market, someone would offer Winnipeg a 1st rounder, an impact player and a good prospect for him, at least.
And beyond that, hang on to them for WHAT? Winnipeg’s window’s closing fast. Do you see them winning a championship with their current roster? Nope. Time to do a partial rebuild so that they have a better supporting cast and still take advantage of the primes of Connor, Ehlers, Dubois, Morrissey, Pionk and other of that ilk.
Too bad for Winterpeg
It all depends on the conversations with fellow GMs. If Kevin is offered some good players & picks in those conversations he might just change his mind.