Editor's note: This article is part of an ongoing series in which Insider Kevin Kurz will highlight a different Sharks player every day leading up to the start of NHL training camp.
Name/Position: John Scott, left wing
Age: 31 (turns 32 on Sep. 26)
Contract status: Pending unrestricted free agent
2013-14 year in review: In 56 games with the Sabres, John Scott had one goal and no assists while averaging just six minutes and 45 seconds of ice time. His 125 penalty minutes led Buffalo and placed him 13th in the NHL. Scott’s season was marred by a seven-game suspension for illegally hitting Boston’s Loui Eriksson with a check the head on Oct. 23. It was the first and only time he has been suspended in his seven-year NHL career.
2014-15 outlook: In an offseason in which general manager Doug Wilson promised change, John Scott’s name has somewhat unfairly become a punchline, as many Sharks fans are quick to point out that the one-dimensional brute is the only NHL player that figures to be on the opening night roster that wasn’t a part of the organization last season.
While it’s understandable that there's some frustration at the team’s inactivity this summer, adding the 6-foot-8, 259-pounder probably won’t have much of an impact on a nightly basis. For one thing, there’s a strong possibility he’ll be out of the lineup more than he’ll be in it, since players of his ilk are becoming extinct. Scott's 56 games last season were the most he's played in a single year, and that was for the worst team in the league.
While I’m on record as saying I don’t understand the Scott signing in that it may take playing time away from a younger player, it’s worth mentioning that he doesn’t necessary have to play in order for him to act as a deterrent, which was Wilson's stated goal for adding him. From the Sharks’ perspective, some of the remaining NHL heavyweights may see Scott’s name on the Sharks’ active roster and think twice about going after his teammates. And, make no mistake, there are still some heavyweights left in the league -- Tom Sestito in Vancouver, Tim Jackman in Anaheim, Patrick Bordeleau in Colorado, Brian McGrattan in Calgary and Luke Gazdic in Edmonton are among them in the Western Conference. The Sharks haven’t had one since they inexplicably let Frazer McLaren saunter to Toronto without getting anything back in return.
[REWIND: Sharks sign 'tough guy' John Scott]
Scott is also known as a good locker room guy, and considering that was an issue for the Sharks last season, perhaps he can help in that area. He knows his role, and as long as he’s not playing 12-15 minutes every night, he could come in handy at times during a season in which the Sharks want to give their younger players more responsibility.