Jason Hewitt might not have got his name on the scoreboard so far this season, but he’s top of the Sheffield Steelers charts as far his coach is concerned.
The feisty forward has had to settle for less ice time this campaign, one which coincides with his testimonial year.
But his presence on the fourth line - and his penalty killing expertise in particular - have been a big plus as Steelers chalked up three consecutive wins in the Challenge Cup.
Hewitt will be on killing duty this weekend as Steelers take on Dundee Stars (away) tonight and Manchester Storm tomorrow (home.)
Thompson singled Hewitt out for special praise: “He is playing a tough role right now. He isn’t playing as much as he used to, especially five-on-five.
“He goes out there every other shift on the penalty kill and over the last three games we have a 100% record on the kill. He is a big reason for that.
“People need to feel their worth and that’s what he brings to our club on a nightly basis. Right now he is as good as anyone in the league, playing the role he does.”
The 32-year-old former Manchester Phoenix player, who scored 19 points in 52 games in the side last year, plans to have a testimonial game on January 26, with a series of events leading up to that match.
Meanwhile, Steelers have tinkered with their Power Play this week. There was also a fitness scare for Rob Dowd this week. He suffered an upper body injury last weekend and has been on light duties during this week’s training sessions. But he will play tonight.
n Tonight’s opponents Dundee, are coming off a win - they beat Braehead Clan at home, 2-1, a game they out-shot their rivals 35-21.
Manchester, who host Coventry tonight, scored six against Cardiff last weekend, but still ended up the loser.