MONEYBAGS clubs in Europe are homing in on two Sheffield Steelers’ imports.
American goaltender John DeCaro and Canadian defencemen Matt Stephenson had both been expected to stay another season at the House of Steel, as their on-ice careers were complemented by studies at the University of Sheffield.
But their heads could be turned by interest from overseas. DeCaro, The Star understands, is to be made a big-money offer from a team in Norway. While a French side has been keeping close tabs on offensive defenceman Stephenson.
Steelers would not be willing to allow either player to go to a rival Elite League club after agreeing an understanding for two years with both north Americans.
But they would not stand in the way of either if a European job offering more than double the salary was to come along. Finnerty has indicated that sweeping changes are likely at Sheffield after they ended the 2011-12 campaign empty handed. One of the players he expects to leave is Neil Clark, whom he rarely picked until the release of Colt King.
Finnerty said: “As for as Clarkie is concerned, I think you have to say that he handled the situation (of being sidelined) better than anybody else at the club would have.
“It is pretty obvious the club and Neil are heading in different directions, I heard he might even be retiring. But I certainly have no hard feelings about him and respect the way he handled himself.”
Finnerty says he does not expect to run a roster with a spare import next year.
“It was the biggest hassle I had to encounter - as a coach you are never right on who you leave out.”