The best and the worst EIHL signings so far

Ahead of this weekend’s action we will take look at the best and worst Elite League signings to date! The list has been created with help from the CTP team!

Belfast Giants:

Best: Tyler Beskorowany (goaltender). Through 12 league appearances Beskorowany has posted ridiculous numbers, 1.88 GAA & .934 SV%! If the Canadian colossus continues to show similar form, throughout the season, expect the Giants to push Cardiff all the way. Moreover, the Belfast back-up Stephen Murphy rounds-off the most formidable goaltending duo in the EIHL.

Worst: Lewis Hook (forward). Maybe a little harsh but with only one goal and three assists in 14 appearances Head Coach Adam Keefe might well have expected more offensive production from this man. However, aged just 22 and still one of best young British talents in the league this is by no means a poor signing.

Cardiff Devils:

Best: Charles Linglet (forward). Fresh from another season in the KHL, playing for Dinamo Minsk, Linglet has transitioned easily into Elite League hockey. In 10 league appearances he has posted 12 points (3G 9A) and will remain a vital part of the league’s best outfit. It is expected Linglet will continue to flourish in a Top 6 role and provide consistent play at both ends of the ice.

Worst: Stephen Dixon (forward). Again another harsh call, but league form aside, Dixon has only to netted once in the Champions League and recorded a plus-minus of -5 through his six appearances in the competition. Although, Head Coach Andrew Lord will be supremely happy with his production in the league, we just had to pick on one of the newbies.

Coventry Blaze:

Best: Nicolai Bryhnisveen (defencemen). This highly skilled defencemen was never know for his offensive production until now. Bryhnisveen has 9 points (3G 6A) in 11 appearances and the standard of his performances could well indicate a talent beyond this league. However, the Norwegian international is signed for Coventry and will look to continue his blueline domination. An off-season priority for Steward is enusing his return.

Worst: Trey Lewis (defencemen). This young Canadian was brought in by Head Coach, Danny Stewart, to add some much needed grit and determination following last seasons disappointments. However, in his first professional season Lewis has yet to produce the big-hitting and hard-nosed game that is required of him. Perhaps not quite big enough to influence the physicality of a game in the Elite League?

Dundee Stars:

Best: Pontus Sjögren (goaltender). The signing of Sjögren for Dundee could well be considered the coup of the summer, especially when you consider the Stars limited budget. As expected, Sjögren has been solid between the pipes and currently ranks 6th amongst the starting netminders. A stat line of: 2.75 GAA and .912 SV% might not be considered outstanding, but Sjögren’s capabilities will ensure Dundee remain competitive for the remainder of the campaign.

Worst: Mike Sullivan (defencemen). Originally touted by Head Coach, Omar Pacha, to be the star of Dundee’s blueline, Sullivan has not yet adjusted to the Elite League’s physicality. Although, this is a common problem for defencemen that have been accustomed to play in most of Europe and Sullivan will have to learn on the job. One year removed from boasting the best Plus/Minus in the AlpsHL, Sullivan is currently -7, although I’d expect this number to improve before the season close.

Fife Flyers:

Best: Paul Crowder (forward). Currently the leading points scorer in the Elite League with 23 points (8G 15A) in only 12 appearances. Crowder, in his second EIHL season, has become the star of the show in the Kingdom. Fife are currently atop of the standings and many fans will attest this to this presence of one Paul Crowder.

Worst: Rick Pinkston (defencemen). After continually splitting time between the AHL and ECHL, Pinkston was perhaps looking for continuity when he decided to join the Elite League. However, poor positional play and distinctly average skating abilities have plagued Pinkston, particularly in the fastest EIHL season to date. However, with Fife well balanced at the back (4 RH & 3 LH) Pinkston has every chance to improve in his debut season.

Glasgow Clan:

Best: Vaclav Stupka (forward). The lightning quick Slovak was initially signed on a trail by Pete Rusell, but he took little time in wanting to extend Stupka’s stay in Glasgow. Although, with only two goals in 11 apperances, Stupka now needs to start converting the chances he is able to fashion so easily. Stupka has the talent to be a point-per-game player in this league and still has plenty of opportunity to improve his points production.

Worst: Matt Beca (forward). A tremendously disappointing start to the campaign for Beca has seen him produce only one goal in 11 outings. However, after racking up 150 EIHL points in 108 EIHL appearances, in his last two seasons, Beca will most likely find his goal scoring touch that Glasgow fans so fondly remember. Although, these goal need to start coming sooner rather than later if Glasgow wish to improve their position in the standings.

Guildford Flames:

Best: Evan Ritt (forward). The tenacious American forward is playing in only his second professional and has thus far proven a successful acquisition. After last seasons roster lacked a physical edge, Head Coach Paul Dixon acknowledged the need to bring in some more abrasive players. Ritt is currently second overall in the PIM’s chart, with 59, and this aggression has appeased the home supporters desires not to be ‘pushed about’.

Worst: Jamie Crooks (forward). Signed as a goal-scoring forward, Crooks hasn’t yet adapted to play in the Elite League. After a prolific junior and university career, Crooks was expected to carry this over into the EIHL with Guildford. However, with just two goals in ten appearances the Canadian import has bounced around forward lines and not found an effective partnership.

Manchester Storm:

Best: Matt Ginn (goaltender). This relatively small goaltender (5ft11), by today’s standards, has been huge for Manchester. In his debut EIHL season, Ginn’s .917 SV% is good for 4th overall and his play looks dependable. The uneasy task of replacing fan favourite, Mike Clemente, looks to to have been completed by this man.

Worst: Dylan Anderson (forward). A relatively late addition to the roster, Anderson so far has been unable to carve out a position for himself in the line-up and spent lengthy spells as the healthy scratch. However, after producing at nearly a point-per-game on the EIHL worst ever roster (2017-18 Edinburgh Capitals), Anderson could yet prove a valuable piece of the jigsaw but opportunities might well be limited.

Milton Keynes Lightning:

Best: Eric Neiley (forward). After retiring in the off-season, Neiley surprised some EIHL fans by returning to the league, when he signed for Milton Keynes. Last season, on New Years eve, Neiley was unveiled as the latest Sheffield Steeler and went on to produce 21 points (10G 11A) in just 25 appearances. In 2018-19, Neiley’s point-production has continued with 11 points (7G 4A) in 13 matches, as he looks to carry MKL up the table.

Worst: Clay Anderson (defencemen). Anderson’s off-ice excellence, a Harvard alumni, is sadly not matched on-ice. After joining from Milton Keynes from Danish champions, Aalborg Pirates, Anderson was expected to be one of the leading blueliners. Yet, a mixture of poor play and lack of physicality has seen Anderson chewed up with regularity by many EIHL forwards.

Nottingham Panthers:

Best: Alexander Guptill (forward). The former AHL & ECHL journeyman looks to have found a home in Nottingham. An impressive 10 goals and 6 assists in 16 appearances for Guptill have more often than not secured vital points for Nottingham in their title challenge. Guptill would be a bonafide top 6 forward in many European leagues and Nottingham may have to fight-off stiff competition this off-season to secure his services again.

Worst: Tyler Biggs (forward). Biggs was seen as a huge coup for Nottingham after the former 1st round draft pick elected to join the EIHL outfit this summer. However, with just two goals in 15 appearances his impact has somewhat been underwhelming and desire now being questioned by some sections of the fanbase. Yet, depsite being only 25-years-old Biggs has enough experience to depend upon and the busy Christmas period might well help him find a rhythm.

Sheffield Steelers:

Best: Aaron Johnson (defencemen). This vastly experienced blueliner looks to have been one of former Head Coach, Paul Thompson, finest moments. After joining the Steelers on a two-year deal from DEL side, Adler Mannheim, Johnson has been consistent and committed so far this season. If you add with the re-signing of Ben O’Connor and new import goalie Matt Climie, Sheffield now look a whole lot stronger at the back.

Worst: Josh McFadden (defencemen). Following the release of failed signings Chris Lawerence, Brendan Brooks and Jiri Gula, McFadden might well be next to bite the dust under the new leadership. After impressing in two seasons at the University of Guelph, McFadden was expected to produce some offence in the EIHL. However, with just one goal in 16 games McFadden’s impact been limited.

Honourable mentions:

Best:

Ben Blood (Cardiff)

Kelin Ainsworth (Coventry)

Josh Pitt (Sheffield)

Brett Bulmer (Fife)

Worst:

Shawn Pauly (Coventry)

Stefan Della Rovere (Sheffield)

Michael Fine (Milton Keynes)

 

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