Why Sheffield Steelers just could not score enough goals: Jerry Andersson reflects on recruitment issues
Jerry Andersson has conceded that Steelers got some of its recruitment wrong - and paid for it with a lack of goals.
The Swede was assistant coach to Paul Thompson for two seasons, the latter campaign ending without silverware.
Andersson suggested Tim Wallace, who arrived with a 101-game NHL background, was something of a misfit.
Asked why Steelers attack had failed to ignite in 2017-18, Andersson replied: “The offense side was a little bad. Maybe recruiting of a defensive forward like (number) 21...he was not the (shots-on-goal) guy we needed.
“He was very good without the puck but gave nothing offensively.”
In fact, Wallace managed just seven goals in 67 domestic matches, fewer than any other import forward who finished the season.
But Andersson doesn’t lay all the blame at any one person’s door.
“It is always bad when you shall start recruiting new players during the season” he said. “Good players are not on the market. Andre Deveaux (sacked after eight games) and Andreas Jämtin (45 games but dropped from the Play Off final) did not help especially.”
He said early injuries to Mathieu Roy and Colton Fretter, followed by longer-term issues suffered by Robert Dowd and John Armstrong took its toll.
“It’s simple. Without all (forwards) in perfect shape it was good to be number three in the League. Just read the stats: 81, 25 (defencemen Ben O’Connor and Mark Matheson) on top (of the scoring.)”
He said it was impossible to win more than 25% of their Conference games with their catalogue of injuries.
“Fans would say that’s a loser talking but it’s about facts.”
Andersson reflects that the club could perhaps have managed expectations better.
“Sometimes you have to be realistic when you’ve set the goal for the season.
“Dream goals are necessary but if it’s only a dream it’s very hard when the facts come up.
“There is nothing wrong with high ambition but it must synchronize with the team, players, physical qualities and talents you have.”
He also said it was possible the management did not make it clear to the team how vital the Conference system was in the scheme of things.
*Ex Steeler Zack Fitzgerald has signed for Braehead Clan.