CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. - Colton Sceviour couldn't wait to get back to work.
Less than 24 hours after touching down at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, the veteran forward was back on the ice at the Panthers IceDen on Wednesday morning, joining a handful of his teammates for an informal skate in preparation for the upcoming 2019-20 season.
"I hadn't skated for a few days, so I figured I'd get out here and get back to going," Sceviour told FloridaPanthers.com. "You get excited in the summer once you know you're coming back and that things are right around the corner. Once you get back to the rink and start skating and start seeing the guys, all of the sudden you realize camp is around the corner, which means that the exhibitions are around the corner, which means the season's around the corner. Then you start getting excited about all of that. All of the stuff you've been training for is now within eyesight."
While it can't be counted as official training, Sceviour did joke that his infant son, Declan, had been giving him quite a workout this summer. Born in November, the energetic infant recently began to crawl with speed, leaving Sceviour and his wife, Nikki, chasing him around the house.
With another long season on the horizon, Sceviour said it was nice to enjoy some family time.
"It was fun," Sceviour said. "It was busy, but it was also good to be around him every day and see things on a day-to-day basis like that. He's just crawling now. He doesn't like to sit still. He's go, go, go all the time now… We haven't even unpacked our stuff yet. It's all the baby stuff first."
Declan likely gets that spirited attitude from his father, who has been a staple of Florida's bottom-six and penalty killing since joining team in the summer of 2016. Although Sceviour was held to 59 games last season, he averaged 78 games and tallied 24 points in each of the two seasons before that.
Entering his fourth season with the Panthers - "It doesn't seem like it's been that long," he said --- the 30-year-old leads the team's forward group with 458:32 of ice time on the penalty kill over the last three seasons, chipping in four goals and three assists while shorthanded in that span.
This season, however, Sceviour said no one is really thinking about individual numbers.
"It's been a few years now, but now it's time to get going," Sceviour said confidently. "At this point, nothing personal [goal-wise]. Once things get started up it's just figuring out where you're getting slotted and what you can do to help the team win and that kind of thing. I think everyone's goal in the room is the playoffs, at a minimum. Once you realize that's the team goal, it's thinking about where you fit into that and what you can bring to the puzzle to help accomplish that."
The Panthers were aggressive in searching for pieces to help fill out that championship puzzle this summer. From the hiring of three-time Stanley Cup winning head coach Joel Quenneville to the signing two-time Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky, the team made one big splash after another, sending a noticeable shockwave of excitement through Florida's locker room.
"All the moves, starting with Q [Quenneville] and then into all the stuff with free agency, it was super exciting," Sceviour said. "It's one of the things when you see it happen you say, 'Alright, let's get going.' There's excitement to get the season going. Now there's expectations, which are good and obviously for the better. It's going to lead to a fun and competitive training camp."
Like Sceviour noted, with those big moves have come even bigger expectations.
Following a 36-32-14 finish last season, many of the top media pundits from around the league have already picked the Panthers as a playoff contender for the 2019-20 campaign. And with all of those added eyeballs now fixed on Sunrise, Sceviour expects the club to rise to the occasion.
"I think it's exciting," Sceviour said. "If you don't look at that as a challenge or a benchmark kind of thing, you're looking at it wrong. We're not viewed as a sleeper team anymore. I don't think all of the other teams have that view of us anymore. It's going to make for an exciting season."