Mark Scheifele may be on the verge of playing his last game as a Barrie Colt.
Scheifele returned to Barrie last night for the first time since the World Juniors saw him leave in December. In his return, Scheifele scored his 22nd of the season and led the Colts to a 5-4 shootout victory over Mississauga.
Scheifele stood on the ice as the game ended and received a standing ovation from Colts fans, as if it would be the last time they'd ever get to see him play in a Colts uniform.
The vibe was that Scheifele may have just played his final game in front of the Barrie fans.
After the game according to Barrie Colts writer Taylor Pope, Scheifele thanked the fans, his teammates and his coaching staff for all the great support. He especially thanked his coach and mentor Dale Hawerchuk. The only certainty from all of this is that his time in Barrie has come to an end. If not forever, then at the very least for now, as he has his sights set on something bigger.
Scheifele will make the jump to Winnipeg Jets' training camp on Sunday and his play has him poised to make the roster full-time. After a dominant season in the OHL, Scheifele feels he is ready for NHL now. But do the Jets feel the same way?
The Jets have holes and Scheifele will fill a big one at some point, but is he ready to do so at the moment? Some will argue it's too soon to let Scheifele grind out games on the third line in a shortened season. Others argue that his time is now and the more playing time, the better.
Regardless, Scheifele will have to prove a lot in training camp to sway the opinion of the Jets' coaching staff. Scheifele would likely sit third on the depth chart at center, his natural position. It is unknown if the Jets would move Scheifele to the wing in order to bump him up higher on the depth chart.
As for the Colts, they're in Guelph tonight to take on the Storm. The word is that Scheifele is with the team tonight and will play in one last game before going to Winnipeg in time for training camp. Tonight could very well be the final game in Mark Scheifele's OHL career.
Next stop, Winnipeg.
UPDATE: Scheifele will NOT be in the lineup tonight in Guelph.