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Jets prospects Scheifele, Trouba aim to make team

Saturday, 09.07.2013 / 8:50 PM / Prospects

By Ryan Dittrick - NHL.com Correspondent

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Jets prospects Scheifele, Trouba aim to make team
Prospects Mark Scheifele, Jacob Trouba and Josh Morrissey will move from the Young Stars Classic to Winnipeg Jets training camp looking to secure an NHL roster spot.

PENTICTON, British Columbia -- As far as Winnipeg Jets prospects Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba are concerned, this is their time to lay it all on the line.

Scheifele, in particular, knows the drill better than most.

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As a veteran of the Young Stars Classic being held here this weekend, and about to attend his third Jets training camp, the 20-year-old center with 11 games of NHL experience is intent on graduating to full-time duty this season.

"Every year that I've been to camp I've gotten a little taste of what it's like to play in the NHL, but getting in some games last year was huge," Scheifele said. "Experiences like that are huge in building your confidence.

"I'm certainly more comfortable now after having gone through this process less than a year ago. Coming in this year, I know what to expect, I know what to do, and I know how hungry to be."

One of the game's most offensively gifted prospects, Scheifele, the No. 7 pick of the 2011 NHL Draft, rose to another level in the playoffs last season. Playing for the Barrie Colts in the Ontario Hockey League, the native of Kitchener scored 15 goals and 41 points in 21 postseason games.

"I feel like I had a pretty good season and developed my overall game quite well last season," he said. "Heading into this year, that's a good step. My goal is to make the team and to be there the entire year. I'll do whatever it takes."

The same can be said for Trouba, a defenseman chosen by the Jets with the ninth pick in the 2012 draft.

Trouba spent the 2012-13 season with the University of Michigan (NCAA), scoring 12 goals and 17 assists in 47 games. Lauded for his defensive ability, physical flair and elite offensive success, the 19-year-old's lone college season resulted in myriad honors, including being named to the CCM Hockey All-America West Team and CCHA's First All-Star Team.

He gained valuable international experience at the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championship, scoring four goals, nine points, and helping the United States win gold.

"I know I'm moving up into a level that's much bigger and faster," Trouba said of his transition to the professional ranks. "Like most prospects, I grew up watching the NHL, studying it as best I could. You see [the pace] and you certainly hear a lot about it, but until you've experienced it up close you're never quite sure what you're getting into. That's why this tournament is a nice way to break into it. I feel a lot more comfortable now and have a better idea of what I need to focus on to make the team."

Trouba is expected to challenge for a roster spot and play a significant role alongside Tobias Enstrom, Zach Bogosian and Dustin Byfuglien this season. Another highly touted Jets prospect, Josh Morrissey, also isn't far off.

Taken by the Jets with the 13th pick in June, Morrissey, 18, is making a strong impression on general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff. The smooth-skating defenseman scored a power-play goal in Friday's win over the San Jose Sharks and was trying to produce again Saturday when the Jets played the Edmonton Oilers at the South Okanagan Events Center.

Morrissey, a Calgary native, scored 15 goals and 47 points last season with the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League. He was invited to attend Canada's World Junior Evaluation Camp this offseason and is a strong candidate to make the team.

"I'm certainly more comfortable now after having gone through this process less than a year ago. Coming in this year, I know what to expect, I know what to do, and I know how hungry to be."
-- Winnipeg Jets prospect Mark Scheifele

"Josh is a special player and I think he showed that [Friday]," Trouba said. "I'd never played with him before, but it's obvious we complement each other's ability pretty well. He skates well, he's smart with the puck, and can play in almost every situation imaginable. It's nice to have that compatibility early on to help with the nerves, especially when you kick it all off with a win.

"Everyone's building chemistry and we're becoming a team very quickly. It's awesome to be a part of it."

The Jets finished 24th in goals against last season, so the influx of promising young defensemen is a positive sign for an organization seeking a return to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007.

"It's a cliché, but it's my goal to get better each day," Morrissey said. "Every minute I'm on the ice, I'm feeling more and more comfortable out there. I love the concept [of this camp]. Getting the chance to play against some other teams and some of the best prospects in the game is a good way to evaluate where we're at in our development.

"Overall, this experience is amazing. I'm excited to be a part of this organization here in Winnipeg for so many reasons. Just look at the fans we have. How could any player not be excited to play in front of them? I can't wait."

Quote of the Day

When we started our journey we made a commitment to our fans to be relevant and to see the Chicago Blackhawks become the best professional hockey organization. There are not two finer symbols of that than Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The commitment we have made to these incredible young men is equal to the commitment they have made to our team, our fans, our entire organization and the city of Chicago.

— Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz on signing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to contract extensions