We are in the first week of June and it’s likely that the Steelers won’t get together until the end of August so if my maths are right we have almost three months before the new season starts.
It’s a point I put to Steelers head coach Ryan Finnerty this week - the message being there is no rush, no need to go out and sign your team this week, we have eight to 10 weeks.
Former Steelers captain Rob Wilson found a new job over the Bank Holiday weekend, taking on Ritten in the top Italian league.
I spoke with Rob to congratulate him and we of course ended up speaking about the Steelers team for the year ahead. Rob’s team has a much bigger budget than any in the UK, for example he is looking for six imports and has contracts between £40,000 - £50,000. In the Elite League they are a lot less than that.
And this is my point, let those top teams in Sweden, Italy, Austria and the like sign their teams first. We can hold out then for those who were hoping for the big £45,000 deal and move in at the beginning of August.
Many of the league’s superstar players and many of the all-time Steelers favourites have been late signings - some like Ken Priestlay after the season had started. Many players will hold out, North American doesn’t start for a month after the UK season has begun, thinking they can have a shot at an American League deal. Some get them and some get sent to the East Coast League.
That’s the time you can pick up some studs.
The majority of Finnerty’s side has been signed, the hard work attracting two outstanding home grown players like Shields and Myeres has been done while signing Corey Pecker has added so much. Now its time to fill in the gaps, another high end forward, a big power winger and a strong 6’4 D man to patrol the blue line – Finnerty has today agreed terms with a goalie so that position is now sorted.
Human nature says get the job done quickly, put your team to bed but I urge Finner to hold fire. Sure if the right player at the right price becomes available sign him but don’t under any circumstances sign for the sake of signing. The waiting game could well be the best plan of attack on this occasion.
The good news is that Finnerty is a pernickety coach, he takes reference after reference making sure he has the right guy. I think Ryan is also comfortable with this waiting procedure and he will make sure that the Steelers final signings are of the right quality. Right now Finner has signed the best he can, the best Brits, he kept the best of last year’s team and his additions have been huge upgrades on what has left the club.
I think we all trust him to get these last three signings spot on.