James Sheppard was born in Nova Scotia and played for the Dartmouth Subways of the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League in 2003-2004. He was an offensive talent while playing for the Subways, scoring 92 points in 61 games in his rookie season with the club. Sheppard made his way to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in the QMJHL after being selected by the team in the draft. He also represented Team Atlantic at the World Under-17 Championship, serving as team captain. Sheppard led his team to a bronze medal, scoring 10 points in six games. He continued his solid play on the Cape Breton club and was the team captain in the 2006-2007 season, only to be left off of the Team Canada roster for the 2006 IIHF World Under-20 Hockey Championships. Sheppard was drafted into the NHL in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Minnesota Wild, going 9th overall. He was signed to an entry-level contract with the Wild in September of 2007 and has started the 2007-2008 season in the NHL with the club. Sheppard has great size at his position and plays well in all three zones. He is a polished player that will make a great leader in the NHL level. Sheppard will likely struggle with his offensive potential on a team like Minnesota, but could serve as a solid two-way center on the club.