Sceviour sets sights on Calder Cup

by Stephen Meserve || AHL On The Beat Archive

If you’d told Colton Sceviour at the beginning of the season that he would be leading the league in goals at the All-Star break, he might have given you a quizzical look.

“Obviously, I would have been fine with that,” said Sceviour, laughing. “It’s not something that I expected to happen. The first few years, I scored a few goals here and there but never at the pace I have this year. It’s a welcome change, and I can’t complain about it.”

The fifth-year winger has played all of his professional seasons in the Dallas Stars organization, including 335 regular-season games in the gold and green of the Texas Stars. He leads the franchise in games played, having been a staple in the forward corps since his rookie season of 2009-10, which was also the Stars’ inaugural season in Cedar Park.

He’s certainly no stranger to the scoresheet; Sceviour’s name has been in the top three of scoring for the club in each of the last three seasons, including last year when he lead the team with 21 goals and 31 assists. Those numbers are looking pedestrian when compared to the otherworldly body of work that Sceviour is compiling this season: Just 43 games in, he led the league with 29 goals, a new career record.

Sceviour gives a lot of the credit for his success to his linemates, Curtis McKenzie and Travis Morin, who have both been recognized by the league with monthly awards this season for their excellent play.

“When you get to play with the same guys, you develop a certain chemistry and you know what’s going on and how to play with those guys. We developed this year as a line and we’ve played together all year which has helped all of us to feel more comfortable in a game and have a lot of success.”

Sceviour and Morin were also part of the AHL contingent in St. John’s, N.L., to face off against Färjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League in the 2014 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Assante Wealth Management. They were on the same line during Wednesday’s AHL All-Star Game, and Sceviour assisted on Morin’s first-period goal in the 7-2 win by the AHL All-Stars.

Including center Chris Mueller, the Texas Stars have four players in the top nine of scoring in the league.

“It’s crazy,” Sceviour said. “It’s something I don’t recall seeing for as long as I’ve been in pro and I can’t imagine it happens very often. We all look at it as something that doesn’t happen every day, so we hope that it keeps going right to the end of the season.”

It doesn’t hurt that the Stars are in their second season under the reigning AHL coach of the year, Willie Desjardins.

“We had a lot of guys returning from last year’s team, and we knew [Desjardins’] style and exactly what was expected of us,” Sceviour said. “It really helped the transition to the new year. This year a lot of the guys have been there and knew what to do and helped with the transition for the new guys.”

Sometimes early season success cools off as the season grinds along and it’s written off as a fluke that wasn’t sustainable. Somehow the Stars have been able to continue producing in the goal department. They score 3.68 goals per game and feature and the league’s best power play at 27.6 percent. Sceviour is a big part of that success on the power play’s top unit.

“You never want to settle,” Sceviour said. “We realized a few months in that it wasn’t a fluke start; it was something that we never wanted to stop. You don’t want a good half-year or a good couple months, you want to be good for the whole season and that’s something everyone on the team is working towards.”

Coming into the season, the Stars have had a common mission propelling them toward success.

“We want to finish first in the conference,” said Sceviour. “It’s our goal and something that we’ve been aiming for the whole year. We want to build on what we did last year. The playoffs didn’t go as well as we’d hoped. We want to get back in there and prove we can win in the playoffs.”

Last season, after finishing first in the Western Conference, Texas was cut down by the Oklahoma City Barons in the second round.

“We’ve looked at it as [unfinished business] since the Oklahoma City series. Everyone who was coming back is looking to redeem ourselves. Everyone who was here last year is working toward a long playoff run, hopefully.”

Sceviour went on a long playoff run in his first season with Texas, one that ended in a six-game Calder Cup Finals loss to the Hershey Bears.

The Red Deer, Alta., native was a rookie that season. He was coming off a successful major junior career in the Western Hockey League, where he led Lethbridge in assists and points in his final season.

The Dallas Stars had drafted Sceviour in the fourth round in 2007, 112th overall. It was a point that Colton’s dad, Darin — the 101st pick in the 1984 NHL draft who played one big-league game with the Chicago Blackhawks — liked to poke fun at him for.

“The first little battle came on draft day. He was actually drafted higher than me. When [his] number came, I was hoping to get drafted before it.”

In 2012, Sceviour noted, “[My dad] still tells me he knows more than me about hockey, but I told him once I get my second game, I’ll know more than him. At that point, I’ll have something to stand on.”

Today, Colton has seen 10 games of NHL action and scored three goals for the Dallas Stars as well.

“I haven’t brought up the fact that I played more than him now yet,” said Sceviour. “He’s really proud of me and he enjoys watching me in the NHL. He was able to come to my first game this season in Winnipeg, and when I scored my first goal, they got to be a part of that, which they obviously enjoyed.”

On the inaugural Texas Stars roster, Sceviour played a checking- and energy-line role, much different than the one he plays now on the top line. He was valuable enough then to get into all 24 playoff games that spring but had just one goal and seven assists.

“I think that first playoff run was something that was new and kind of passed me by, what I had and what was going on. It seemed like something that was going to happen all the time. You don’t realize how tough it is to make a run like that in the playoffs.”

The Stars have made it into the Calder Cup Playoffs three times in franchise history, advancing past the second round only once.

“[The first run] was more overwhelming than anything else because I didn’t know what to expect. Looking back on that, it was a heck of a time, and we had such a good team. I just didn’t realize it because it was my first year.”

Reflecting on his career so far, the 24-year-old Sceviour knows that the season he is having now is a special one. He is especially honored to have been selected for the All-Star Classic this season.

“Being able to make an All-Star game, from a personal perspective, is pretty cool. Doing it with another guy on your team and doing it when they only take 22 guys is a pretty cool experience.”

However, he says that with an eye also toward the future. After the first playoff run as a rookie, he is looking forward to being a big part of the future success the Texas Stars hope to have in the spring’s Calder Cup Playoffs.

“Hopefully the best moments are still to come,” said Sceviour. “In playoffs, that’s the goal. In my first season, I chipped in here and there. Making a playoff run as one of the ‘big guys’ is definitely a goal this year.”