STEVE Birnstill believes his old club, Sheffield Steelers, are leading candidates for the Elite League title.
Ahead of his return to Sheffield on Sunday, with his new club, Braehead Clan, the New Yorker said: “Sheffield a very strong team; they are obviously a big front-runner to win the league. They are deep, there is not one weakness throughout the entire team. They have four solid lines, six solid defenceman and a great goalie in Johnny DeCaro.
“I know lots of people have tipped us to win the league, but this year is going to be a test for every team. The talent across the league is much stronger and more evenly spread, so you will see plenty of close games. Whoever wins the league is going to have to work for it, It won’t be easy.