With Paul Thompson promising a new direction for the Sheffield Steelers following a trophy-less season, we take a look at the transfers so far.
MARK MATHESON: SHEFFIELD STEELERS > SHEFFIELD STEELERS
Re-signing for another year, Matheson will provide the Steelers with another season of outstanding defence. Winning the coaches, fans, and players ‘Player of the Year’ award last season shows the quality of player Matheson is, while he also tallied 49 points through the season. Very few, if any, fans will be complaining about this news.
COLE SHUDRA: SHEFFIELD STEELERS > MILTON KEYNES LIGHTNING (LOAN)
Extending Shudra’s contract for two more seasons, while sending him to Milton Keynes on loan for next season, Sheffield has made a clever move to retain this young player. Having signed eight British players so far, it was difficult to see where Shudra would fit into the line-up to continue his development. Sending him to Milton Keynes on loan will hopefully ensure he gets regular ice time, Milton Keynes gets another British player, and Sheffield will get a stronger player back in a years time. This is a move that benefits both teams and ensures Sheffield will still have a strong British core for the future.
BEN O’CONNOR: SHEFFIELD STEELERS > BARYS ASTANA
Leading the points tally for the Sheffield Steelers, while being an integral part of team GB’s gold medal campaign in Budapest, Ben O’Connor has moved on to the Kontinental Hockey League.
READ MORE HERE: Ben O’Connor Moves to Kontinental Hockey League
JORDAN GRIFFIN: BRADFORD BULLDOGS U18 > SHEFFIELD STEELERS (APPRENTICE)
At 16 years old, Jordan Griffin has joined the Steelers’ apprenticeship programme, alongside Brown and Shudra. Captaining both the Bradford Bulldogs U18 and Team GB U16, Griffin shows a lot of promise for a British defenceman which Thompson hopes to develop and capitalise on. Until pre-season, we know very little of this young player.
JACKSON WHISLTE: BELFAST GIANTS > SHEFFIELD STEELERS
The first of the big signings for the Sheffield Steelers, Jackson Whistle achieved a .895 save percentage in 44 games for the Belfast Giants last season, while providing an additional import slot for the team to work with. Being a young player at 22 years of age, there has been doubts over his ability as a starting goaltender, however, with backup Brad Day potentially looking at more ice time, I’m optimistic about their partnership.
BRANDON WHISTLE: SALMON ARM SILVERBACKS > SHEFFIELD STEELERS
Coming to the Steelers alongside his brother Jackson, Brandon Whistle is a young, big bodied forward, looking to start his professional career. Again, classified as a Brit under EIHL rules, Brandon has been described as a “project” which the Steelers will be looking to develop a strong player from.
READ MORE HERE: What can we expect from Brandon Whistle?
ERIC NEILEY: SHEFFIELD STEELERS > RETIRED
Only joining the Steelers at Christmas, Neiley quickly became favoured by fans for his scoring ability and gritty play style. His play-off performances left many optimistic that he would re-sign with the Steelers this summer, however receiving a non-hockey related job offer in America he has chosen to retire from professional hockey.
ERVINS MUSTUKOVS: SHEFFIELD STEELERS > NICE
Playing all but 7 league games for the Steelers, Mustukovs finished the season with a .918 save percentage and the league lowest goals against average (2.36). Within the season he also broke the league record of longest consecutive shutout, now standing at over 300 minutes. His release from the team confused many fans, but Thompson remains that this new direction gives Sheffield the best chance to win the League title next season.
ZACK FITZGERALD: SHEFFIELD STEELERS > BRAEHEAD CLAN
A class act on and off the ice, Fitzy was a fan favourite throughout his three seasons as a Steeler. Not afraid of the physical play, he quickly grew a reputation around the league. Although many fans will miss him, his new role as captain of his former team, the Braehead Clan, will suit him brilliantly.
COLTON FRETTER: SHEFFIELD STEELERS > RETIRED
Playing four seasons with the Steelers, Fretter was a consistent top point producer when healthy. Getting a six-game suspension early in the season for the ‘Goulakos incident’, Fretter also caused the Department of Player Safety to be completely revamped and a four-man referee system to be introduced to the league. Although these were two welcome, and much-needed, additions, these weren’t the circumstances fans would’ve wanted them to be introduced under. Nevertheless, Fretter’s point production and high-level ability will need to be replaced on the Steeler’s line-up.
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It’s been one hell of a ride. I’m really excited to move on to the next stage of my life but I’d have never met any of these beauties if it wasn’t for hockey. I’ve been lucky enough to play the game with some of the best teammates a guy could ask for. For those not included, sorry, it’s probably because the pictures weren’t respectable enough for social media ha.