Why a former NHL draft pick felt the wind of change at Sheffield Steelers

Andre Deveaux - picutred in rare celebration at Steelers
Andre Deveaux - picutred in rare celebration at Steelers

It’s fair to say recruitment hasn’t been Sheffield Steelers’ number one strong suit so far this season.

The club cut Andre Deveaux today after 11 games.

He did little in Sunday’s home win over Coventry Blaze, so his swan song, effectively was the 46 penalty minutes in the horrible defeat at Milton Keynes Lightning on Saturday.

Steelers took a risk on the player, who had a chequered background, and it backfired.

They had initially said that Deveaux, who had an impeccable CV in the NHL, would bring “a bite and an edge” missing from their roster.

Ironically, when he showed that bite, it was delivered in a way which only harmed his club.

Recruitment is risky generally, ofcourse, as few Elite League coaches have physically seen the imports they bring to this country, until they get here.

But they were unlucky in that defenceman Joonas Ronnberg decided to leave for family reasons and Juha Koivisto returned to Finland.

Brady Ramsay has been the odd man out seven times, in terms of spare imports.

Coach Paul Thompson was out-bid in his attempts to sign Canadian d-man seven Delisle and others have priced themselves out of a move to Sheffield.

Meanwhile, Steelers, who play at Dundee Stars on Wednesday, have picked the Scots as their opponents in the Challenge Cup quarters. Steelers finished top seeds and selected the eighth seeds for the next round.

Owner Tony Smith said: “We’ve got a good record against Dundee Stars and we think it will give us the best route towards the final.

“It’s a potential banana skin of course and by picking Dundee, the other teams will see that Steelers fancy their chances. There were five choices and they were ours.”

QUARTER FINAL TIES (Dates to be confirmed))

Sheffield Steelers vs Dundee Stars (QF1)

Milton Keynes Lightning vs Nottingham Panthers (QF2)

Belfast Giants vs Fife Flyers (QF3)

Cardiff Devils vs Guildford Flames (QF4)
SEMI FINAL TIES (Dates to be confirmed)

Sheffield Steelers or Dundee Stars vs Cardiff Devils or Guildford Flames

Milton Keynes Lightning or Nottingham Panthers vs Belfast Giants or Fife Flyers

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