So Doug Christiansen makes his first Steelers signing this morning.It’s not a sexy one; not a stud who will score 40 goals, or a bully who will stand and fight 15 times this coming season.
It is, however, equally important because signing a player of the calibre of Mark Thomas is vital if you are to succeed as a club.
Thomas has signed for two seasons, which will take him to ten years with the club and a testimonial year in 2015. Already he is the Steeler with most appearances in the Elite League era with 481 games.
With Danny Meyers already signed, the Steelers again will have six experienced defencemen.
Drew Fata and James Jorgensen are already returning on two-year contracts so Christiansen will, in my opinion, bring two new D men to the club, a solid Steve Munn-type player and a new quarter back to run the power-play.
That, of course, will throw a question mark against Rod Sarich, who you will recall impressed many with his performances last season as a forward.
Will Christiansen take that risk or move in another direction?
Thomas would have been my first re-signing - he is a club man through and through and, like myself, is an out-of-towner who has been welcomed into the Sheffield family.
He is a man who loves and respects the club, and Doug will make Mark responsible, bring him to task when things don’t go right.
I expected a couple more signings but the new coach doesn’t rush - and won’t be rushed. He seems to be a man with a plan, a man who knows his own mind.
I do expect a couple of new British players, but I don’t expect one of those to be a returning Colin Shields or Stephen Murphy, former players of Christiansen in Belfast.
The import situation is a funny one. I’m sure that Doug will try and sign Tylor Michel - who wouldn’t!
I think Simon Ferguson may be Braehead bound, especially if former coach Ryan Finnerty gets that job.
Does Christiansen, the man who for so many years said that Jeff Legue was the biggest clutch player in the Elite League era, now sign that player, or go down a new and fresh route?
I think that by this time next week the Steelers will have added one or two British names to their roster.
This will be an interesting summer, folks.