Late last month Colton Sceviour hit a milestone when he scored the game-winning goal for the Texas Stars in a 2-1 victory over Oklahoma City. It was his 200th point in the American Hockey League, and Sceviour was quick with a quip when asked what the milestone meant to him.
“It means I’ve been in the AHL too long,” Sceviour said with a laugh.
It’s been five seasons in the AHL, including this one, if you are wondering. He’s played 320 AHL games, all of them with the Texas Stars, toiling away and waiting for that opportunity to breakthrough at the NHL level with the Dallas Stars.
“I felt like the more I played at the AHL level the more confident I am that I could play here,” Sceviour said. “It was more waiting for that chance that was eventually coming as opposed to would it come. I was at the point where if I kept playing the way I was playing at some point it would come.”
There have been chances for Sceviour over the years. He was called up in February 2011, made his NHL debut that night at Philadelphia but was sent back to the AHL the next day. He was on the Dallas roster to start last season, got in one game and picked up his first NHL assist, but was assigned back to Texas and spent the rest of the season there. He had a strong showing at training camp and preseason this year, co-leading the Stars in goals and points, but he was among the last players cut from the Dallas roster.
But there is a new opportunity for Sceviour, his best one yet, and he’s making the most of it so far.
“He’s played well,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “He’s played really well.”
Sceviour, called up from Texas on Dec. 9 due to an injury to Vernon Fiddler, has scored two goals in three games, including the game-winner on a breakaway with 2:52 remaining in Tuesday’s 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche at American Airlines Center.
“Any time you score a game-winning goal it is pretty exciting, especially at the NHL level it is even more exciting,” Sceviour said. “And late in the third like that, it was a great feeling. I’m glad it went in.”
Sceviour’s shown he can score at the AHL level. He potted 21 goals in each of his two previous seasons with the Texas Stars. This season has been a breakout year. Playing right wing on Texas’ top line – mostly with center Travis Morin and left wing Curtis McKenzie – he’s scored 18 goals in 26 games and was leading the AHL in goal scoring when the Stars recalled him.
“It’s confidence,” Sceviour said. “I think I’ve been known to have slow starts, take a little while to get going but once things get going they go well. This year I’ve been fortunate that things have gone well right off the bat, and when things go well things start going better even more often. The confidence builds and snowballs. I’ve been feeling confident and things have been going my way.”
And things have continued to go his way since he came up to the NHL. He scored his first NHL goal in his first game of this season and the third of his NHL career, tallying on a breakaway in the Stars’ 6-4 win at Winnipeg on Dec. 14. He had five shots on goal in his second game and then there was the game-winner vs. Colorado in his third game.
“I’m feeling good,” Sceviour said. “The first game seemed a little bit faster, there was a little bit of an adjustment period. But each game I feel like I am getting more accustomed to the speed, feeling more comfortable making plays. Hopefully with more games I can keep feeling better and do more.”
The Stars selected Sceviour, who played for both Portland and Lethbridge of the Western Hockey League, in the fourth round (112th overall) in the 2007 NHL Draft. Scouting reports had him as a solid two-way player with skill, and he’s proven that over his pro career. He’s shown versatility as well, playing all three forward positions, up and down the lineup and both sides of the special teams.
“I’ve played all over in my five years and I can fit anywhere if there is room,” Sceviour said. “I think that helps to get in the lineup to not just have one specific skillset, to be able to be plugged in anywhere.”
The Stars have had some room recently and it has given Sceviour the best opportunity of his career to show what he can do at the NHL level.
“I’ve got my chance,” Sceviour said. “I’ve got to take advantage of it. It is on me.”
And while it has been only a few games, he has been making a pretty good case for himself.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.