SYDNEY — If the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles had a job that needed to get done this season, they could look to Dany Potvin.
The 19-year-old from Napierville, Que., was a jack-of-all-trades for his team. Whether it was dropping the gloves to stick up for a teammate, making a big hit, or scoring a goal, Potvin has done it all for his team.
“I think part of my game is I can play many different types,” he said. “Coach can put me on the third line to play against (Saint John Sea Dogs forward Jonathan Huberdeau). The last couple of games, I played with (Alex) Lavoie and (Denis) Kindl in more offensive situations.
“This year, I was on the fourth line at one point and I had to fight some big guys to get things going in the game. Sometimes, I scored three goals and help the team win the game. I think my role changes every game and I’ve seen my role change from shift to shift.”
The 6-2, 212-pound winger posted career bests in goals (18), assists (9) and points (27) this season, along with amassing a career high 106 penalty minutes in 58 games. That’s one minute less than team leader and enforcer Blake Millman.
“I’m not a mean guy and never fought in school or anything,” Potvin said. “But when one of my teammates gets hit, I’ll be the first one to stick up for him. When the game needs to change when they have the momentum, I want to get it back. And if that’s what I have to do, that’s what I’ll do.”
With the Screaming Eagles in a rebuilding mode, it was natural that Potvin’s name would surface in trade speculation during the league’s holiday trade period. But Cape Breton decided to hold on to the rugged forward and team veteran.
Once the trade frenzy subsided, and as one of the few remaining seasoned players on the roster, his role as mentor to his young teammates expanded even more.
“They have a lot of talent and the coach isn’t scared to put them out in the last couple of minutes in the game because they have so much energy and they can always bring something,” Potvin said. “I remember one of the games nothing was going well for us and it was a time where you think the coach would put Jonathan Brunelle’s line out for a goal, but he put the fourth line in and they got a really important goal and it brought a lot of energy.”
Screaming Eagles head coach Ron Choules said he’s not afraid to utilize Potvin in any situation.
“I put him at centre, left or right wing,” he said. “Dany’s one of those guys who puts up good numbers, too, gets lots of opportunities and plays a good d-side game as well. He gets some energy going on certain lines as well.
“When Dany plays a solid north-south game, he’s very effective. He plays a hard game and a tough game, and we appreciate Dany for what he is. I think it’s important that Dany knows what he is. In the second half, he’s accepted the role we’ve given him.”
Potvin said he wants to be part of next season’s group as an overager.
“I’d love to be a 20 here,” he said. “It’s a great group of young guys, there’s some really good young talent on this team. If I could be a part of this, I’d love to. I’ll be right up front showing them a good example.”