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2015-16 season review: John Scott

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From discarded AHL enforcer to NHL All-Star MVP, it was a whirlwind season for John Scott.

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Undrafted, John Scott completed a mechanical engineering degree from Michigan Technology University, where he played with the Michigan Tech WCHA team. He spent his last ten years in the NHL, bouncing around from various clubs and their respective AHL affiliates.

Scott always seemed to be that team player; one who would never be expected to put up a pile of points, but was depended on to stand up for his teammates. Over the course of his NHL career, he played 286 games and collected only five goals and six assists. He also amassed 544 penalty minutes.

This past season, Scott had 12 games of action in the NHL, one of them with the Montreal Canadiens.

After 11 games with the Arizona Coyotes, Scott was sent down after being voted captain of the Pacific Division for the NHL All-Star Game, and traded away by the team before the mid-season event arrived. When the Habs announced the Scott transaction on January 15, 2016, reactions among Habs fans ranged from exceptionally confused to downright angry. It was immediately announced that Scott would be reporting to St. John's, where he was slated to remain for the rest of the season.

What started out as a joke ended up with many hockey fans rallying behind Scott for the NHL to honour his All-Star nomination. They essentially demanded that Scott still be allowed to play in the game, and the league eventually relented, allowing Scott to participate.

Scott was cheered when he stepped on the ice for the Skills Competition as the only player not wearing an NHL team jersey. He rode that support to a two-goal performance in the 3-on-3 All-Star Tournament the next day, and was voted the MVP of the exhibition game as a result.

In his first game in St. John's following the All-Star Game, Scott was greeted by thousands of fans chanting "MVP, MVP" when he touched the ice. He did not let the extreme shift from playing in the NHL's biggest talent showcase to joining a non-playoff team in the second tier of North American hockey get to him, rather finding the positives in the situations. "I actually really like it here," he said after his return to Newfoudland. "It's a good little community."

While in St. John's, Scott saw regular ice time, and even some power-play duty. He collected four points in his 27 games with the Canadiens' farm team. Usually on the left wing of one of the bottom two lines, Scott also subbed in on defence when required. Many of the younger guys often talked about their respect for Scott and how he became a mentor to many of them, showing them the importance of perseverance.

That positive approach and never-quit attitude paid off when Scott was called up to play one final game in the NHL as a show of good faith by the Canadiens. Many feel that the one game he played wearing the Canadiens jersey will turn out to be the last of his NHL career.

Despite the roller-coaster campaign, Scott always kept a smile on his face. "It’s kinda come full circle," he said after his recall to the Habs. "We started in the NHL and now we’re going to end up here. It’s definitely been a whirlwind from where I’ve gone and where I’ve been and to here. It’s been good and bad, but I think at the end of the day, it was a good season."

Indeed, Captain.