When the Panthers signed Colton Sceviour and Jonathan Marchessault to two-year contracts on July 1, it definitely wasn't the news of the day.
Bringing those two in as free agents, however, sure looks pretty good right now.
“They both have been real good," coach Gerard Gallant said. “Both of them are playing real good, playing real smart hockey for us. That’s what we need moving forward.”
Although their initial signings were overlooked by Florida's eight-year deal with Aaron Ekblad and the addition of goalie James Reimer, Sceviour and Marchessault have been anything but overshadowed this season.
Coming into Tuesday's game with the visiting Boston Bruins, Marchessault is tied with Philadelphia's Wayne Simmonds for the NHL lead with six goals each.
Not only does Marchessault's 11 points lead the Panthers (tied for third in the league) but Sceviour's seven points were good enough for second on the team.
On Tuesday, Marchessault was named the NHL’s third star for the month of October noting “the 25-year-old Cap-Rouge, Quebec, native has nearly matched his career NHL point total through the first month of the season; he had 19 points in 49 appearances prior to 2016-17.”
Sceviour now has five goals -- three coming Sunday in Detroit as he registered his first hat trick and the first for the Panthers since Tomas Kopecky in 2013.
“I felt like I was fitting in from the first day I got here," Sceviour said. “The guys are easy to get along with. ... Things have worked out for me here, obviously we had some nice plays and nice bounces that worked out in Detroit.”
Marchessault and Sceviour were brought into the Panthers to help solidify the bottom two lines giving both the opportunity for more playing time than they had previously.
Sceviour, 27, spent seven seasons playing within the Dallas Stars organization and scored 11 goals with 12 assists in 71 games -- not including two goals in the postseason.
Marchessault, 25, got into 45 games with the Lightning last season. Prior to that, Marchessault had played in just four NHL games.
“I thought I would play on the fourth line when I got here, show what I can do there,” Marchessault said. “Obviously, I’m getting more time than expected. We have a good hockey team. It’s nice to be able to help out.”
Florida got both to sign two-year deals; combined, they'll make less than $2 million this season.
FACEBOOK VIDEO: Florida coach Gerard Gallant speaks before Tuesday’s game against Boston via One Panther Parkway
“We've filled out the bottom part of the roster,'' general manager Tom Rowe said at the time.
“We're a tougher team to play against.''
Because of injury, the duo are getting even more playing time -- and in better circumstances -- than they thought.
With Jonathan Huberdeau lost for the first half of the season after severing his Achilles' tendon, Marchessault moved up to the top line and has blossomed.
Sceviour replaced Kyle Rau on Florida's second line after Jussi Jokinen was hurt.
“I knew Marchessault from his days in Columbus and I think there are a lot of guys like them; they just needed a break,” Florida captain Derek MacKenzie said. “To have those guys playing the way they are right now, with the injuries we have had, is great. I was looking forward to playing with those guys but things happen. They’re getting their shot and running with it.”
Said Sceviour: “Both of us were stuck in a similar situation with our old clubs and we came here thinking we could move up through the lineup when needed. We both came here thinking we would have succes right off the bat; you can see all the additions have helped out so far at different points.”
And, for Marchessault, just knowing he’s in the lineup every night — and playing with Sasha Barkov and Jaromir Jagr — has been a big help to his daily preparation.
“That has been huge,” he said. “It’s not fun not knowing if you’re going to play that night until you get to the arena that morning. It’s not terrible, you have to be ready. But it’s awesome to know I’m in the lineup every night. I’m playing with good players who make things easier for me.”
▪ Roberto Luongo will be back in net against the Bruins after Reimer picked up his first victory with the Panthers against the Red Wings on Sunday.
▪ Shawn Thornton and Steven Kampfer will be the Panthers' healthy scratches again Tuesday.
The two have missed nine of Florida's first 10 games. Both played in Buffalo on Saturday.