Sheffield Steelers’ class of 2016-17 will be slick and quick, says Rob Dowd

Rob Dowd is no slouch himself
Rob Dowd is no slouch himself

Rob Dowd believes speed and four line depth will be the most significant change to his Sheffield Steelers’ team, as they attempt to win their third-straight Elite League championship.

The Great Britain winger has been delighted with the upgrades made to the side, particularly the signing of his Markus Nilsson, a former team-mate from his time in 2012-3 at IF Troja-Ljungby in Sweden.

“Next year team certainly has a different look - it’s Swedish!” he laughed. “It certainly appears we will have a quick side, I thought we were fast last year but we’ll be even nippier this coming season. Plus we will have such depth, too. We should have four lines of goalscoring ability.

“Look at Nilsson - he is so rapid! I loved it when Vesty (Fredrik Vestberg) centred my line with Levi Nelson, he was skilled, steady and did everything right while me and Levi skated like idiots and caused havoc.

“Nilsson is a Vesty type player, very similar, but quicker! So fingers crossed he should bring something good for our team” said the winger. “I don’t know if he will centre my line, he wasn’t when we played together. He was only a youngster then, (he’s 25 now) he’d not long broken into the team, was making way. Now I am sure he will be even better.

“Thommo (Paul Thompson) coached him there and knows what he is capable of, that’s obviously why he brought him over.

“Overall, we will be a lot more solid and deeper, especially at the back.”

Thompson says he is pleased that he has retained quality players from last year and added others that would enable the team to play “fast, with an edge and entertaining for the crowd.” The best spots will be up for grabs: The best players get the minutes” he said.