There’s no official timeline for how long the grieving process should last, it just takes as long as it takes. I think Cardiff Devils fans need to hear that after losing Andrew Hotham.
After four years, many personal and team accolades, Andrew Hotham is moving on from the Devils after announcing the news himself on social media.
So that leaves huge hole on the Devils defence (and with Ben O’Connor leaving the Steelers for the KHL, a huge fear that maybe Hotham is the replacement there…that would go down well…)
But what should the Devils do with that vacancy? Do they just throw money at Gleason Fournier and go with the one offensive blueliner? Or do they go out and get another.
I’ll admit myself, I’ve been guilty of saying one particular name even during the season as someone I think would do well in Cardiff.
Guildford Flames found a gem in Calle Ackered last year who posted 60 points in 55 regular season games on an admittedly better than expected Flames team.
His 60 regular season points were just one point behind Andrew Hotham, and he’s younger as well so is he Hothams replacement?
Is he someone the Devils could look at bringing in sure, but as a replacement, to actually come in and replace Andrew Hotham? Absolutely not.
Both are fantastic puck moving defensemen yes, both have a natural ability to create plays as well as break plays up, but Ackered is no Andrew Hotham.
If you said bring Ackered in to maybe replace Gleason Fournier (this is an example I don’t have any information that Fournier is leaving so please don’t read into this), then yeah okay maybe I’d have more belief that could work.
But Ackered cannot fill Hothams shoes.
Ackered is a fantastic player in his own right, nobody at all can deny that and if they do they’re wrong. He’s one of the smoothest skating players I’ve seen in the EIHL, he’s got incredible hands and incredible vision and he’s incredibly reliable defensively.
His speed and skill gets you goals and assists, but he’s not got the physicality of Hotham.
What Hotham brought to the Devils side over the last four years was more than goals and assists. It was physicality and grit that Ackered can’t match. It was a way of playing the game that other teams found frustrating and couldn’t get past.
If Andrew Hotham was on his game for the entire time he was on the ice (which was usually around the 30-minute mark) then you’re not beating the Cardiff Devils, simple as that.
The team around him helps yes, but Hotham has that tenacity to his game that makes you think twice. He’s not the biggest hitter on the ice, he wasn’t even the biggest hitter on the Devils team, but he played with a level of toughness and a compete level that leaves Andrew Lord and the Devils a huge hole to fill, and they’ll have to search as hard as they can to make sure that spot is filled with the right player.
You won’t get Andrew Hotham 2.0, but you need that edge, the fearlessness and the compete level that Hotham could bring, mixed with the sheer skill of the player that made him such an influential player over his EIHL career.
Calle Ackered is a fantastic player don’t get me wrong, but he’s not the guy to replace Andrew Hotham, but he’d still be a hell of a player in South Wales if they did bring him in.
Featured Image – CardiffDevils.com