Fredrik Vestberg - Sheffield Steelers’ player of the year last season - was a one-season wonder and won’t be returning back to the club next season.
But the champions believe they have cushioned the blow by signing a countryman of the Swede - 25 year old centre Markus Nilsson.
Coach Paul Thompson used connections at his former club Troja Lundby to secure the player.
Vestberg had wanted to return but had family commitments in Sweden which he put first.
The 33-year-old scored 15 goals and 47 points in the championship winning season earning him applause from coaches, teammates and supporters.
His diligence, work-ethic and smooth skating style marked him out as a true force in his debut Elite League campaign.
“Freddie will be staying in Sweden next season” said Thompson. “It’s a blow for us because we wanted him back, he made a huge impact here. We understand his reasons and we thank for everything he did for us. Fredrik was a credit on and off the ice.
“Markus is a mini Fredrik, someone both (assistant coach) Jerry Andersson and I know well. Jerry has worked him for years and I coached him at Troja during my time there.
“Both Jerry and I spoke about what we needed, we talked about Markus and agreed he would be perfect for us. Jerry then went around to see him and opened up negotiations. He is looking for a new opportunity and we are delighted he has chosen us.
“He has an incredible work ethic and his highly skilled. Markus is younger than Freddie was at 25. This is a perfect fit for both club and player and I think our fans will enjoy what Markus brings every night.”