The Cardiff Devils have brought back a 15th member of last years title, conference and playoff winning squad (and Aladdin cup) by announcing the return of defenseman Mark Louis for the 2018/19 season.
Louis returns to South Wales for his third straight year in a Devils uniform, and will be hoping to have a better year in terms of injuries this time around.
Injuries limited the 31-year-old to just 30 league games last season, but after showing his imposing style of play in his first season, fans of the Devils will be hoping he can return to form with a clean bill of health.
Head Coach Andrew Lord spoke about the latest re-signing by saying “I think Mark is a real character player, a heart and soul kind of guy who gives it his all every time he hits the ice.
“He is a big body out there, but skates so well. He can break the play out and knows when he can join the rush but has the speed to get back into position.
“He obviously had a tougher year last season with the long-term injury but showed great determination to get back on the ice and he played a big role for us down the stretch.
“Mark has been in Cardiff all summer as he finished up his MBA, so he has been on the ice a lot more than usual for him and has been hitting the gym hard. He’s probably in the best shape since he came to Cardiff and I know he is going to have a big year for us.”
In a defensive unit that boasted names like Andrew Hotham and Gleason Fournier as offensive and flashy players, Louis has been able to go quietly about his business and be one of the teams best shut down defenseman, something that with him in peak physical shape will only make the Devils defence even more deadly than before.
Louis has never been shy to use all of his 6’4″ and 225lbs frame, being a dangerous person to skate with your head down at. His physical play means forwards constantly have their head on a swivel when he’s around, and while the Devils don’t have an out and out fighter in their line up, Louis along with Josh Batch is one of the toughest guys on the team who can handle his own when the gloves are off.
It’s not just the physicality that make Louis a dynamic signing for the Devils, his willingness to block shots in crucial moments has propelled the team to success over the past two seasons, and while he’s not known for his point production, his ability to start the breakout has contributed to a lot of offensive success in the past two seasons.
“I’m thrilled to be back for another year in Cardiff.” Louis explained as the team announced his return.
“I love this city, I love the fans and having won 6 trophies in my first two seasons here, there wasn’t really any other place I wanted to be.
“Last season was far from perfect for me on a personal level because of my injury, which has motivated me to be in the best shape possible and more determined than ever to make an impact for the Devils this season.”
The Devils still have a few spots left to fill, and with just one new face in the lineup in Mike Hedden, it’s likely Louis won’t be the last re-signing Andrew Lord and the Devils make this summer.