Scheifele: 'Probably a little too honest' with end-of-year comments
Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele says he never doubted his future with the team despite creating speculation with his end-of-season comments in May.
In an interview with the team website posted to YouTube on Tuesday, Scheifele said he was confident he would stay with the team prior to the media storm that erupted when he stated he had "to think about my career and what’s going to be best for me," after the Jets missed the playoffs for the first time in five years.
"I was until I saw the media disaster that came from it. When I was saying my comments, it was kind of strange how so many people took it in such a different way," Scheifele said. "First of all, I started off the question that I was asked by saying 'I love it here, I've been here for 10 years, it's been an amazing community, it's been amazing to me, and I want to be a Winnipeg Jet.' And then everyone seemed to just start recording after that, so it's kind of one of those things that I was confident that I was going to be around.
"I knew there was going to be some hard questions to be asked on my part to management in terms of the direction of the team and I know a lot of the guys were kind of all in the same boat. The last couple of years haven't gone as planned, especially last year... I was confident I was coming back until I saw all the media headlines and then all of a sudden it's I'm getting traded and who knows where I'm going and all that stuff.
"It was kind of one of those the way media takes things, but that's life I was probably a little too honest. I'm usually just the cliché monster when it comes to the media, but I'm a guy that loves to talk hockey and that's kind of what I wanted to get some answers in, to talk hockey with management and see what's happening. It's something that I think about each and every day and I was confident I was coming back literally until the headlines started."
Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff stated in May he hadn't received a trade request and later added he expected Scheifele to remain with the team.
“I just have to know where this team is going and what the direction is and what the changes are going to be, if any,” Scheifele said after the Jets final game, which he missed due to an upper-body injury. “I have to think about my career and what’s going to be best for me.
"Those are going to be … talks with my agents and everyone in my family and stuff like that and figure out what I really want. So, it will be a tough talk tomorrow.”
Signed through 2023-24 at a cap hit of $6.125 million, Scheifele said he's excited to play under new head coach Rick Bowness, after playing under interim coach Dave Lowry and Paul Maurice last season.
"I've been with pretty much the same coaching staff for my entire career, so it does seem like a little bit of a fresh start," Scheifele said. "There's obviously going to be some new ideas, obviously a lot of the same players, but I loved our group of guys. We have a lot of fantastic guys on our team, a lot of guys that I think from talking to them are just as excited as I am about this upcoming season and what it's going to hold and how things are going to change. I think that's what everyone kind of wanted, everyone kind of wanted to see a little bit of change.
"We needed to see some new things. We want an idea of where the team's going and what our team is going to look like. It will only get more and more interesting as it gets closer to training camp."
The 29-year-old posted 29 goals and 70 points in 67 games last season. He has topped the 20-goal mark in seven straight seasons and scored more than 30 goals in both the 2016-17 and 2018-19 seasons.
Scheifele has spent his entire career with the Jets, who drafted him seventh overall in 2011.