Sheffield Steelers started the transformation of their defence today by signing Canadian blueliner Josh McFadden.
The club had the best rearguard unit in the Elite League last term, conceding fewer goals than any competitor.
But of the seven who finished the season, two have been let go, there is uncertainty over three and Mark Matheson and Davey Phillips are re-signed.
McFadden, who has just turned 27 and is 6ft 1ins, comes from a relatively modest, recent playing background at University of Guelph.
He went there to study after 32 games in the AHL, where he scored eight points and took 17 penalty minutes.
McFadden said: “I wanted to get back to that pro hockey life. That meant Europe and I was open minded where.
“Sheffield made the contact, I did my homework as I’m sure they did on me and the deal was done.
“Paul Thompson (coach) was upfront with me from the beginning. I found him approachable and honest. He told me about the club, the city and the fans. My own research had given me the same answers. The fit seemed right”
McFadden regards himself as “a puck moving defenseman.
“I like to move the puck quickly with a good first pass.
“I can play physical and I have a big slap shot that I like to get away quickly
“I’d like to be a big part of the Steelers side. I’m excited by the prospect and can’t wait to arrive in August”
Thompson said McFadden was an experienced addition to the roster.
“Josh is still only 27 and has a great major junior career behind him with Sudbury Wolves where he was captain and the club’s top scoring defenceman.
“Following that he went back to school where he was an all star with the University of Guelph.
“On and off the ice we believe we are getting a quality person and a player with a very high hockey IQ.
“He has good size and is in great shape, we’ve done a lot of work on him as a player and love some of the plays he is able to make. I expect him to be a big part of the club, log good minutes and certainly contribute on the power play.
“I like the fact that he has been a go-to guy and has been used to carrying the load.”