ICE HOCKEY: Why coach Ryan was happy to Luke elsewhere

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STEELERS believe they have signed a more potent version of Luke Fulghum - the winger they poached from an Elite League rival but then dispensed with at the end of last season.

The arrival of Fulghum from Coventry Blaze halfway through the 2011-12 campaign was greeted as a master stroke at the time and the American went on to chalk up 40 points in 44 games.

But the 31-year-old couldn’t help Sheffield to a title and coach Ryan Finnerty decided to spend his comparatively higher-grade salary on new import Cory Pecker, who is new to the country but has had a fine career in the AHL and Switzerland.

Finnerty said: “Fulghy is a good player and as such he comes with a heavy price tag.

“We were looking for a bit more from him than we probably got and you have to look at the whole package; how much it costs a club when a guy brings the wife and kids.

“Fulghy did earn his money with us but he knew which way the wind was blowing when it came to the club meeting the upper echelon of wages.

“He was looking elsewhere towards the end of last year.

“We never completely ruled him out but then when Cory became available I was comfortable that we would be upgrading with him. He has real pedigree. We did our research on him by talking to guys in Switzerland and the AHL and I thought it would not do any harm to inject some new blood into the team.”

Finnerty says he won’t be demanding immediate goals from the French Canadian.

“You can’t always expect players to come to a new team and new league and light the lamp up straight away,” he said.

“I remember when Scott Matzka came to Cardiff Devils and got off to a slow start. He became one of the top five marksmen in the league.”

Pecker, 31, can fit in anywhere on a forward line.

“It is unusual if a guy doesn’t mind if he is centre, right or left wing. That sort of thing really helps a coach,” Finnerty added.