Sheffield Steelers want more from their centremen next season

Andreas Valdix: Steelers can get more out of him and John Armstrong, says Andersson. Pic: Dean Woolley
Andreas Valdix: Steelers can get more out of him and John Armstrong, says Andersson. Pic: Dean Woolley

Jerry Andersson believes there is room for improvement from the centremen who will spearhead the forward lines in Sheffield Steelers’ Elite League title pursuit next season.

The club was triumphant this Summer when Andreas Valdix, among others, declared their intent to return to the reigning Play Off champions.

But Steelers’ assistant coach has high standards, and believes a bigger contribution from his fellow Swede - whose maiden season was blighted by injury - is possible.

Asked what areas of the team he expects to see improvements, Andersson replied that he wanted to see strong centres impose themselves on the ice.

“Centres have to be good, I expect Valdix to have 80 games at a high level, John Armstrong too. I think we can get more from them.”

Valdix averaged more than a point a game of the 32 League matches he played in.

John Armstrong

John Armstrong

And Armstrong was third highest points scorer, with only Mathieu Roy and Colton Fretter ahead of him in the pecking order.

So any improvement from either, in terms of points, would see them challenging the club’s two scoring mainstays.

Head coach Paul Thompson has already said that players like Armstrong, who was studying at University in his first year in the UK, take a time to settle because of the workload and responsibilities.

Meanwhile, Andersson’s personal wish-list for 2017-18 doesn’t stop with the centres.

He hopes the mixture of new defencemen, alongside retained skates, will offer better protection around goaltender Ervins Mustukovs.

“Also, in our game we need no frustration and bad discipline” he says. “We lost same games because of that. Details makes a difference.

Steelers’ new roster contains 10 north Americans, four Europeans and the Brit pack.

It has six players aged 29 and nine aged 32 or above.

Asked what Andersson thought of the team in terms of experience and variety, he said: “Paul has found a perfect balance. It means that we should be good in all moments, both offence, defence, Power Play and Penalty Kill.”

READ MORE: Click here for all the latest news from the ice hockey scene