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The future is now

Trouba-Scheifele era appears to be upon us

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Mark Scheifele faces off against Alex Friesen of the Vancouver Canucks Monday in what coach Keith McCambridge said was his best game of the tourney.

JEFF VINNICK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Mark Scheifele faces off against Alex Friesen of the Vancouver Canucks Monday in what coach Keith McCambridge said was his best game of the tourney. Photo Store

PENTICTON, B.C. -- They are the next wave and their presence on the Winnipeg Jets is likely upon us.

Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba are Jets-drafted, Jets-developed and many hope the Jets' future and that focus begins Wednesday with the start of the team's NHL training camp.

Both players were participants and a focus at the weekend's Vancouver Canucks Young Stars Classic, ending with a 2-1 loss to the Canucks Monday afternoon.

And the duo, who would appear to be destined to be on the roster to start the NHL season barring a disastrous camp, both said Monday the three-game stint here against other NHL prospects will be a valuable stepping stone when real business begins.

"I think so," said Trouba, the 19-year-old defenceman taken ninth overall in the 2012 draft. "Getting back to playing hockey is always a good feeling. It's going to help going in."

'It's a process and it's going to take a little while to get through this but I feel like I'm ready'

-- Jacob Trouba

After playing in these three rookie games with partner Josh Morrissey, the team's 2013 first-round pick, Trouba said he's ready for what's next.

"I think so," he said. "I felt good coming in. I feel good now. It's a process and it's going to take a little while to get through this but I feel like I'm ready."

Having joined the Jets with three weeks to go in the regular NHL season last spring ought to help him in the next three weeks, even though he didn't play a game then.

"I'm just trying to have fun and to enjoy it," he said, asked about nerves. "I've gotten this far in hockey just having fun so I might as well keep doing it.

"That's why I play the game."

Scheifele, the team's seventh-overall pick in 2011, had just one official assist in the three games here but seemed more concerned with his readiness for the start of main camp.

"I'm excited to get to the next step," Scheifele said Monday. "If I were going into main camp without any games, it would definitely be a struggle going up against big guys, veterans in the league.

"I thought these three games got me more comfortable with game situations and how games are played. You can practice as much as you can but once you get into games, it's a lot different."

As an 18-year-old two years ago, Scheifele starred in this tournament and then went on to surprise many by making the Jets' roster.

Though he made the team and lasted a few games, he went back to junior in each of the last two years.

"That (2011) was a lot different," he said. "Last time, it was my first time to an NHL camp and definitely a lot of nerves and unfamiliarity with what to do so I'm that much more comfortable this time."

He said he's got his focus squarely on one thing in the next few weeks.

"I think it's just getting better each day," he said. "Every day's a stepping stone and every day you have to take it in stride and work your hardest, give your all."

And he's ready for the onslaught of attention he's likely to receive when training camp begins.

"Definitely," he smiled. "Going through it a few times in the last few years, I'm definitely ready for that aspect of it."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 10, 2013 C3

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