Ice hockey: Sheffield aiming to put more Steel in their defence

Paul Thompson’s first major move in his team-building plans for the 2015-6 season will be to beef up the defence.

The new Sheffield Steelers coach hopes to be able to announce his first import signing tomorrow, an import defenceman.

Brian Stewart takes on Jeff Legue, last season

Brian Stewart takes on Jeff Legue, last season

And he is also keen to make a significant signing in goal.

Thompson wants to recruit the best goaltender in the Elite League.

The coach believes 6ft 5in Canadian Brian Stewart, at Coventry Blaze, was the stand-out netminder from the 2014-5 campaign. Now he wants to find somebody who tops even his form.

Referring to last year’s goaltender Josh Unice - the player who stepped in when Frank Doyle was injured - Thompson said: “I had a good look at him and he is not out of the reckoning. If you look at Stewart in Coventry, I think he was the star netminder from last season and I think we have to look to better that.”

Thompson would have loved to have bought former Steeler Ervins Mustukovs back to Sheffield. “He was outstanding for me last year in Aalborg. ‘Moose’ loved his time in Sheffield. He is a goalie who could play a lot of minutes and one I could trust for the season, also he has the EU passport and we need two of those.

“We had a deal all done but at the World Championships with Latvia he was approached by Riga (KHL) and they are talking with him about a move there.

“Grenoble then came in for him and have signed him to a deal with a get-out clause later in the summer should Riga want him.

“I couldn’t put myself in a position where I was looking for another goalie late in the summer if that happened, I don’t want to be scrambling for a new goalie just a few weeks before the Champions League commences.

“It would have been great to bring Moose back but wasn’t to be on this occasion.”

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