Ron Shudra is tipping Rod Sarich to make a similar impact at Sheffield Steelers as he did himself, after returning to the club.
Sarich, 33, has been delivered “from the wilderness” - he has been awarded a fresh contract after being overlooked last season.
Shudra, the biggest name in Steelers’ playing history, was no stranger to the feeling of being unwanted one season, then being embraced again.
The former skipper had been a Steelers’ mainstay from its origins in 1991 to 1999. He left Steelers after months of waiting in vain for a Don McKee offer and spent two seasons in the BNL at Hull, 1999-2001. After a 25-game flirtation back at Steelers (2001-2) he left for Coventry Blaze.
Then had three seasons again with Steelers 2003-2006, before finishing his career at Sheffield Scimitars.
“Every time I came back I was welcomed with open arms and it will be the same for Roddy” said Shudra, of the 33-year-old utility man.
“In his last playing season, Roddy suffered almost every kinds of injury you can think of, so I think it is good for him that he has had time out to rest and recover. He’s the type to keep in shape, it’s not as if he’ll come back a big fat walrus or something.
“As for him not having skated since he retired, well, that won’t harm him too much. He’s an intelligent player with a high skill-level and will soon back into the swing.
“We have all seen Premier footballers blow their knee and be out for six months, but come back. Roddy missed 50 games and a calendar year, it is not that much in the scheme of things.
“Roddy’s skating and timing will come back quickly, the important thing is that he is fit and healthy. I would say he would be a top three defenceman in any team in the Elite League, he’s a very good signing for Steelers. In fact, I have always said he is a player. He is an offensively talented individual but can stay at home and defend.”
Shudra says when you have the specific “knack” of opening up spaces in opposition halves, you don’t lose it, through enforced inaction.
“He will be skating probably the end of July and August and will find gaps and spaces the way he always has.”
Shudra is confident coach Gerad Adams will start attracting decent quality imports, soon.
“When he was at Cardiff he made a few late signings but I’ve never had a problem with coaches who did that. Everybody is ‘available’ now but frequently you agree a deal with someone and then they say they might not be coming because they are going for a try out somewhere or somebody else is interested in them. He’ll get his men.”