Sheffield Steelers have spoken to nine player targets and offered contracts to four of them as they seek to fill an urgent vacancy on their blue line.
But they have been unlucky each time - and have yet to find a player to fill the boots of the departed Joonas Ronnberg.
Coach Paul Thompson is now likely to have to ask a forward like Andreas Jamtin or Andreas Valdix to step back on defence against Manchester Storm on Saturday, as Zack Fitzgerald sustained a facial injury in the 8-2 win over Dundee Stars on Wednesday at iceSheffield.
Thompson said he'd been frustrated trying to tie down a new signing - of the four he'd offered terms to, two had retired, one had gone to Sweden and the other Germany's DEL.
He was having to compete against teams offering eight times what EIHL budgets can stretch to.
"Hopefully in the next few days we will have something positive" he said.
Valdix performed some defensive cover at iceSheffield in the Stars' romp.
But he and his linemates Rob Dowd and Levi Nelson have re-discovered their chemistry and it would be a shame to disrupt that on Saturday, when Steelers complete their Challenge Cup group responsibilities, against Manchester Storm.
The squad has practiced with Jamtin back on defence, but have not played him there in game-time, said the coach.
Against Storm, Thompson said: "We have to be on our toes; at the end of the day we want to send out a message.
"They are equal with us in the league right now, they have had a great start to the season, they have got everything to play for.
"I don't want to go into Continental Cup playing like a wet lettuce I want us coming out hard and playing competitive at home, we're looking forward to getting back into the Arena."
Thompson complimented his opposite number Ryan Finnerty, who will be behind the Storm bench on Saturday.
He has done well to recruit a big strong team which can dominate in their rink, he said.
"They are tough, they go to to the net, but they have a high skill level as well."