Mark Scheifele, all but universally accepted as the best prospect in the Winnipeg Jets’ system, has formed a volcanic one-two punch on the Barrie Colts with Anthony Camara. The chemistry of the Colts’ two 20-goal scorers most likely played a role in Camara making the final cut on Canada’s World Junior Championship team, which will have Scheifele on board for the second year in a row.
For now, it appears Scheifele will be linked up on a line with Jonathan Huberdeau and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. However, with the first game in the 11-day tournament still a week away, there is abundant opportunity for Scheifele and Camara to flaunt their formula on a bigger stage against tougher competition.
In case that happens, the Jets’ front office should keep a watchful eye on their first-round draftee, as well as Camara, whose rights presently belong to the Boston Bruins. The more the two prospects perform together on a variety of platforms, the more Winnipeg should consider a move to make Camara a potential professional colleague of Scheifele’s.
To date, through 33 OHL games, Camara and Scheifele have shared the ice for 58 of Barrie’s 127 goals, and they have also shared a hand in 22 scoring plays. In their most recent game before the WJC training camp, a 6-2 thrashing of the Kingston Frontenacs, Scheifele assisted on Camara’s power-play strike and the two were both in action for four Colts goals.
As an unofficial prelude to their World Junior tryout, the two Barrie forwards joined Seth Griffith, a London Knight and Camara’s fellow Bruins draftee, on the starting line for Team OHL in a Nov. 12 bout with Russia.
Earlier this month, a feature story in the Barrie Examiner detailed the rise in Camara’s game since he joined Scheifele’s Colts late last season. The same story by Gene Pereira reiterated Scheifele’s status as a purely skilled prospect while noting that Camara has blossomed into a fruitfully gritty winger to complement Scheifele’s skill set.
Since that story was published, both of the Colts have secured a coveted roster spot. If they are given a chance to collaborate again and make waves as Team Canada linemates, then a Camara-Scheifele combination will be worth pursuing on Winnipeg’s part.
As the salary charts stand right now, the Bruins likely could not afford to ask for much more than an amateur, a minor league prospect or a future draft pick. However, depending on what changes occur in the wake of the lockout and the new CBA that will eventually end it, a bigger swap is certainly within the realm of possibility.
In that event, for such purposes as cap space or replacing pieces that are sacrificed due to a potentially tighter cap, established NHL players from both parties could be involved along with the rights to Camara.
Granted, there is hardly any guarantee that Camara and Scheifele will simultaneously step right into The Show, although Camara has time and a radiant opportunity ahead to amplify his stock.
But depending on how many established Jets forwards are still under contract by 2013-14, it would not be unreasonable to have Camara and Scheifele each working on a bottom-six pair for at least portions of their first professional season.
There is also the chance that they will each find themselves in the AHL with the St. John’s IceCaps. In which case, an arrangement more comparable to what they have in Barrie would work without delay.
Regardless, Cheveldayoff and company should leave no pucks unturned, especially not this one. They should continue to eye the chemistry between Camara and Scheifele as long as it is on display at the WJC and for the subsequent remainder of the OHL season.
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