Now that was a signing that came out of the blue wasn’t it? I don’t think I saw Cory Pecker’s name mentioned once on a fans forum or spoken about in the media ... and for good reason.
The Cory Pecker’s of this world don’t come about too often as the last thing you want as a club is one of your competitors knowing that a potential league MVP is available. Pecker is possibly the player we have been looking for over the past five seasons; an offensive stud, a point machine and, most importantly, a helping hand for Jeff Legue.
You don’t play 300 plus games in the American Legue and another 170 in Switzerland unless you have many qualities and Pecker has them. References came in from both North America and Europe.
I spoke to a couple of friends of mine who coach in Switzerland and when I mentioned Pecker’s name they both said to me: “Great player but you won’t be able to sign him.” Well the Steelers have done and Ryan Finnerty must take huge credit.
It took Finnerty over a year to persuade Pecker his future was here in Sheffield. He tried last summer and through the whole of last year he kept in Pecker’s ear. He almost pulled it off around Christmas but he never gave up and talked almost daily to the Montreal-born forward until he signed last week.
It was a simple choice for Pecker. Sign the contract or sign the restraining order against Finnerty!
So this is starting to look like a very good and very different Steelers side. One with a lot more punch, a lot more firepower. Add Legue, Shields and Pecker and there is an argument for 250 points there. Finnerty has three imports still to sign and I expect one to be another offensive points machine with the other two being hard-nosed, gritty, disturber-style players, those havoc creators that will patrol the Arena ice.
We have spoken before about depth and with Matt Stephenson joining Messrs Sarich, Jorgensen, Meyers and Mark Thomas the Steelers will have room for a big toughie to police the team and ensure that those skilled, offensive guys can play and entertain.
Finnerty I think will make one, maybe two more signings this month and then leave the final two, including the huge one of a new goalie, until closer to August.
The Steelers are already more offensive, already deeper, already tighter at the back. Finnerty must now be smart, he has recruited so well to date but those final few players will determine whether his side are competitive or champions elect.
A mean centre, a tough winger, a killing machine final D man and a goalie who acts as a sponge to oncoming pucks and it’s Steelers 2001 revisited and we can all look forward to the best of seasons in Sheffield.