Colton Sceviour is a good hockey player. After spending four years fighting his way to the NHL via the AHL’s Texas Stars, Sceviour finally got his chance to stick with the big club this past season. In the 26 games he played for the Stars he put up a respectable 8 goals and 4 assists for 12 points. He figures to be on the opening night roster come October, and he will probably also get a look on both top lines throughout the season.
A lot of Dallas Stars fans have been rooting for Sceviour, along with fellow long time Texas Stars scorer Travis Morin, for a couple of years now; and it was a breath of fresh air to see the hard working forward stay in the lineup. Now, it’s time to build on last season’s success.
So far, Sceviour has shown that he deserves a shot at the NHL; now it’s up to him to show that he deserves to keep that spot, and that’s where things start to get interesting.
At 25 years old, Colton Sceviour is no longer considered a prospect. Instead, he falls somewhere between professional minor leaguer and NHL regular, leaning towards the latter at the moment. He’s not old, in the middle of what people are beginning to consider the prime years for goal-scoring forwards. What he’s too old for, however, is changing who he is as a player.
Twelve points in 26 games is nothing to sneeze at. That rate of production over a full season adds up to 37 points, which would put him at fourth in points on last year’s team. Whether or not he’s able to maintain or increase that pace is entirely up for debate. While he knows how to be a scorer in a pro league, it took him a few years to establish that in the AHL; and the NHL is a different and many-more-headed monster.
Returning to what I said a couple of paragraphs ago, he’s too old to change into something he’s not. That something is a fourth line defensive grinder. He’s not bad in his own end and he works hard, but his skill set is more suited to the top six; if he were to keep his NHL job for the long-term it would be in a top six, or on a scoring third line – which is already full on this team.
So the question becomes: Is Colton Sceviour good enough to play in the NHL in the top six? The Dallas Stars really need another scoring winger for the top two lines next year, so he may be able to beat Erik Cole for that spot, if Cole continues his inconsistent ways.
Past next year, however, is a bit of a mystery. He’ll be 26 going into the 2015 season and the Stars have a number of very good offensive prospects who will be in the same boat as him but younger. From an organizational standpoint, it makes a lot more sense to trade away or bury a 26 year old who just put up 35-40 points in his first full NHL season and keep a 20-22 year old who can put up similar numbers, or whose skill set would be more suited to 3rd/4th line minutes.
Jim Nill’s recent trades have made that a bit less of a problem for Sceviour, but Brett Ritchie, Curtis McKenzie, Matej Stransky, Scott Glennie, and even Jason Dickinson all might seem like better options for what he offers. (That doesn’t mean those guys are going to stay in the bottom six)
This coming season will be huge in determining Sceviour’s future on the Stars. If he can be a consistently solid (not spectacular) scoring threat on a second line with Jason Spezza feeding him, he’ll likely be looked at as a longer term option. If not, it doesn’t make much sense to keep an offensively minded forward like him around in the bottom six when other, younger players could fill that role more comfortably.