Colton Sceviour is a solid player. After tearing apart the AHL, he was called up to the Dallas Stars late last season and immediately made his presence known. He scored some timely goals and played a solid overall game, earning some looks in the top six and on the powerplay.
As I wrote in a recent column, the task for Sceviour now is to prove he belongs on the team long term.
Looking at the Stars' depth chart, Sceviour is likely to start on the wing on the fourth line. Depending how the Erik Cole top six experiment version 2.0 goes and how the Rich Peverley situation shakes out, Sceviour could get some looks in the top six throughout the year. That's the weird thing about Sceviour's standing with the team. He's a valuable player only if you really need him. If Erik Cole does what he's supposed to do and finds some kind of scoring touch, Sceviour is a fourth line, fringe NHL player because the third line won't change.
If, on the other hand, he can prove in training camp, or a few weeks into the season, that he can put up more points next to Spezza than Cole can, then he'll be a valuable player in the top six. The question is whether he can be consistent enough to be the better option.
He put up 12 points in 26 games last season, which is good. If he's in the top six, he'll need to keep that points per game rate at the very least, and hopefully improve on it. The many years it took for Sceviour to develop in the AHL may indicate that he isn't ready for that kind of responsibility, but with the lack of real top six options for that winger spot, it seems like it couldn't hurt to try.
While it would be very nice if he could quickly turn into a top six option; if he doesn't it's okay because he's one of those players who could very well become a jack-of-all trades type of player. He's played both center and wing for extended periods of time, so if he starts on the fourth line and there's an injury on the top three lines, he could fill in nicely wherever needed. Similarly, if one of the power play units goes silent, he can be put in front of the net to create chances.
The reason he's so low in the impact player rankings is because he's good, but non-essential. The Stars aren't going to the playoffs on the back of Colton Sceviour, and his presence doesn't make them a much better team. At this point he's a serviceable bottom-six player who could have some second line potential if put into the right position.
At the same time, the Stars might want to take a long-term approach. If he and, say, Brett Ritchie are neck and neck in training camp, the Stars might elect to go with Ritchie who is younger and has more raw talent and upside. They wouldn't be hurting the team too much by leaving Sceviour off of it, and they would benefit from Ritchie getting acclimated to the NHL on the fourth line with some exposure in the top-six and on the powerplay.
Expendable sounds harsh, I know; and I like Colton Sceviour, I was very happy when he finally made his mark on the team. The reality, however, is the Stars have a log jam of bottom-six players and really need someone who can fit on the second line. Right now, Sceviour falls into the former category, which makes him less important.
All this could be moot if he has a great training camp and comes out of the gates running, which he very well could. Right now, he's mostly an unknown, so he's cautiously the 19th most impactful player on the roster.