Bigger and better: Sheffield Steelers defensive corps

Davey Phillips, one of the tall D-men at Steelers' disposal
Davey Phillips, one of the tall D-men at Steelers' disposal

Paul Thompson hopes he’s made a BIG improvement to his defence, next term.

Of the D-corps already signed the shortest are Zack Fitzgerald and Ben O’Connor at 6ft 1ins! Davey Phillips and Joonas Ronnberg are two inches taller with Mark Matheson coming in a 6ft 2ins.

It will be interesting see who will be a go-to skater to quarter back the Power Play, other than O’Connor. With Mike Ratchuk gone, expect to see Matheson also used in that role.

Thompson has already said that the 33 year old has a sound “all-round game – you can play him in any situation. “

The Canadian notched a point every other game for Rouen, in France, last season.

In comparison, Jace Coyle, for instance, scored a point in every third game, last season. The year before though Coyle scored 29 points in 52 games.

Matheson’s most productive season in the AHL was with Milwaukee Admirals when in 76 games he scored 25 points.

Meanwhile, Ronnberg says he signed to play on Steelers’ blue line because “everyone wants to feel wanted and I felt really wanted by Sheffield and Paul Thompson.

“I had started to think of playing in the UK but didn’t know if this would be the year or not. Then Paul and the Steelers showed their interest and persisted – it’s a nice feeling to have people wanting you that badly.

“I spoke with Paul and he knew a lot about me and had spoken with many people for references. He explained his role for me and I like that, knowing what is expected before you arrive.

“He wants me to play to my strengths which I am happy to do”

Thompson commented: “I did chase him hard. I knew what I was looking for. Many good players had come across my desk but they didn’t fit the role I was specifically looking for. Then when Joonas became available we realised here was a guy who would make our team better.

“We have power play guys, we have offensive guys. We didn’t need another guy leading the charge, we needed a guy just like Ronnberg.”

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