RYAN Finnerty isn’t losing any sleep over losing the Elite League’s top goaltender Ervins Mustukovs.
The Latvian shut-out king has quit Sheffield Steelers for a more lucrative post with one of Denmark’s leading clubs Odense Bulldogs.
The switch does not come as a surprise to new team boss, Finnerty.
While ‘Moose’ was Steelers joint Players’ Player of the Year and statistically ahead of the rest of his League competitors, the 27-year-old did not endear himself to everybody.
Finnerty acknowledges the fact that the netminding position is the most important to fill with the right person. But he also believes there will be plenty of potential replacements to choose from. The coach said: “His agent had told me he had other options in Europe, he had good year in Sheffield and deserves an opportunity elsewhere. Moose will be missed by the fans, but I’m confident we will find another to take his place.
“His replacement will, most likely, be from north America.
“There is going to be a lot of goalies available, lots of teams are going to be folding in the USA after this season, so patience is a virtue at this point.”
On the domestic front, Newcastle Vipers have folded, throwing more British and import players on to the job market.
Finnerty is awaiting concrete news on brilliant offensive defenceman Jerramie Domish, who The Star revealed weeks ago is being courted by an Italian side. While everything is up in the air at this early stage of the close season, there is some good news in that the player-coach, himself, is recovering well from a herniated spinal disc.
He said: “The back is getting better a few hours of rehabilitation a day has helped a lot.”
Several clubs have been snapping up defencemen in the last few days. Braehead Clan have signed 27 year old Brit, James Hutchinson, while Coventry Blaze have recruited GB d-man David Phillips, 23. Belfast Giants have re-signed 29 year old American blueliner Jeff Mason.
At Nottingham Panthers, Danny Meyers and Matthew Myers have re-signed.