Winnipeg Jets: How Mark Scheifele would impact each NHL Division

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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Winnipeg Jets
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The Atlantic Division

The Atlantic Division is probably the deepest Division at the Center position:

  1. Auston Matthews (Toronto Maple Leafs): 64.7% – 4th Overall
  2. Jack Eichel (Buffalo Sabres): 63.5% – 5th Overall
  3. John Tavares (Toronto Maple Leafs): 52.8% – 11th Overall
  4. Dylan Larkin (Detroit Red Wings): 52.8% – 12th Overall
  5. Alexander Barkov (Florida Panthers): 52.3% – 14th Overall 
  6. Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins): 50.5% – 16th Overall
  7. Brayden Point (Tampa Bay Lightning): 48.9% – 19th Overall
  8. Phillip Danault (Montreal Canadiens): 44.7% – 22nd Overall
  9. Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay Lightning): 42.0% – 23rd Overall
  10. Chris Tierney (Ottawa Senators): 10.1% – 36th Overall

That’s bad news for Chris Tierney in Ottawa, who was the lowest scoring player I tested. That’s largely due to his underutilization on the Power Play. He spent only 68 minutes on an underperforming PP last year. Compare that to Auston Matthews, who spent 227 on a top-tier PP. As a result, Tierney went 0.0% for all three Power Play stats.

I included Tierney  because every team has a center that plays on the first line, and Tierney is that guy in Ottawa. But clearly, Ottawa could use a First Line Center that plays on the first unit PP.

Dylan Larkin is a case of a good player on a struggling team. His TOI was high; his Even Strength Points were not. And Detroit did not have a very good Power Play, which Larkin is a major part of.

Some may look at where Patrice Bergeron is on this list and raise an eyebrow. He is considered one of the league’s best Two Way Centers and has been for a long time. I’ll note here that games missed to injury aren’t a factor in Bergeron’s score. All scores were adjusted per game.

Bergeron’s reputation as a Two Way Center shined through in his CDiff, where he scored in the 80th percentile. And Bergeron was strong on one of the league’s best PPs. But where he fell behind significantly was his TOI. In fact, he had the lowest TOI of any of the players I measured. As you may recall, Scheifele led all other centers in that category.

And look at the names ahead of him. Matthews, Eichel, Tavares, Larkin, and Barkov. All great (and in some cases, underrated) players.

Since Bergeron’s utilization was low without Scheifele, I suspect if Scheifele was a Bruin, he would play the most minutes. On the PP, the Bruins might load it up like the Oilers do and put both Scheifele and Bergeron out there. It’s worth mentioning that since Patrik Laine’s absence, Scheifele has been playing one-timer in the slot on the Jets’ PP.

I found it interesting that Scheifele scored just slightly higher than John Tavares. They ended up having fairly similar scores across each category, except Even Strength Points, where Scheifele had a noticeable edge.

The 2020 Cup Champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning, were another case of two First Line Centers. Stamkos’ injury problems in recent years allowed Brayden Point to assume more responsibility at center. Until that time, he was generally regarded as a very good #2 Center.

Stamkos, a one-time 60 goal scorer (a decade ago), was low in the TOI column, very low in the TOI vs. elite column, and high in the Even Strength Points column, but 0.0% in the Corsi Differential column. That’s how he found himself 23rd overall.

As with Bergeron though, because the Atlantic Division is deep at center, Stamkos and Point’s positions on this list are deceiving. League-wide, they are closer to the top half than the bottom.

Verdict: Scheifele would be the First Line Center on every team in the Atlantic Division, except the Leafs and Sabres.