The Saint John Sea Dogs began the year with the slogan “our team, our time.” While that slogan has since been shelved, Steven Anthony isn’t throwing in the towel.
The Halifax native has been thrust into a prominent role with the Sea Dogs after the team ended its bid for a championship at mid-season, trading off veteran standouts Chris DiDomenico and Alex Grant as part of a youth movement.
He kicked it into high gear on Sunday, recording a franchise-record six-point game in an 8-1 win over Gatineau and earning QMJHL offensive player of the week.
“With a lot of those guys gone, I feel like the offensive production is now put more on my shoulders,” the former Dartmouth Subways star said. “With more pressure, I play harder.”
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound forward had 21 points in his first 43 games, but has eight points in two games since the trade deadline. He’s on the top line with fellow Subways grad Michael Kirkpatrick and new acquisition Olivier Ouellet.
He’s getting prime time on the power play, too, and all of this is a positive for Anthony, whose play in the second half will determine if he is selected in June’s NHL draft.
“I’ve always been wanting to have the puck more on the power play, and now, with Grant and DiDo and all of those guys gone, I’m being put into more roles,” the 17-year-old said.
“Hopefully I can take this and run with it.”
It hasn’t been an easy time in Saint John. The franchise’s jarring change of direction prompted Sea Dogs head coach and general manager Jacques Beaulieu to pen a lengthy letter of explanation to fans on the team’s official website.
“It hurts,” said Anthony, noting that the departure of close friends was the hardest thing to stomach. “But by no means are we packin’ it in. We beat Gatineau 8-1, and if we come together and play like that, we can do some damage.”
• Anthony was 92nd in NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term ranking for North American draft-eligible skaters, released yesterday. Bedford’s Brandon MacLean, a P.E.I. Rocket forward, is ranked 141st, while Halifax Mooseheads defenceman Gabriel O’Connor checks in at 126th.
• The Victoriaville Tigres have placed Halifax’s Alexi Pianosi on waivers. The 19-year-old blue-liner and former Subways star has a goal and 10 assists in 43 games this season. Teams have until today at 2 p.m. to claim him.