Big year ahead for Sheffield Steelers' Sam Jones?

Sam Jones' name has yet to officially appear on Sheffield Steelers' confirmed roster for the upcoming season - but it is clear the defenceman has done his case for re-enlistment no harm at all over recent months.
Sheffield Steelers' Sam Jones in Great Britain colours. Picture: Dean WoolleySheffield Steelers' Sam Jones in Great Britain colours. Picture: Dean Woolley
Sheffield Steelers' Sam Jones in Great Britain colours. Picture: Dean Woolley

In July 2020, the 23 year old signed a two year deal with the club.

The coronavirus lockdown robbed him of his planned first full Sheffield season but he got the nod to play in the 16 EIHL games in the April-May mini campaign in Nottingham.

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There, Jones clearly impressed the Great Britain coaching staff and he played a couple of games in the World Championships for them in Latvia.

While fans have to wait until the pieces of the 2021-22 team jigsaw and officially put together, it is clear that Jones has admirers at Sheffield Arena.

Steelers' coach Aaron Fox said: "I thought he played really well in both those games for GB when he got ice time.

"As for the Series I had zero problems playing him in all situations, he killed penalties, played on the power play a little bit for us and was not afraid to throw his weight around and drop his gloves for his team mates. I liked his game.

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"It could be a big year for Sam, he's a big kid, skates well.

"I know he is working out hard over the Summer again."

With rosters likely to be slimmer now than last season, Jones - if he does return to the Steeler fold - will have to justify Fox's description of "decision makers" - every player will have to put in maximum intensity and fulfil their potential.

Sheffield have so far announced the signing of one defenceman only, Adrian Saxrud Danielsen.

They have lost the likes of Marek Troncinsky, (passed away) Ben O'Connor, Jérémy Beaudry and, for the time being at last, Josef Hrabal.

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On the forwards front, the coach had retained an interest in flying winger Josh Waller, whom he drafted into the team in the condensed series.

The 22-year old scored three goals and four assists in 16 games and grew more of an influence in every match.

However, Waller's head was turned by Cardiff Devils, who now have his services for 2021-22.

Fox had to observe his budget responsibilities, though.

He said: "Obviously Josh skates really well and I had a number that I would have had interest in him at.

"I was told that the number that he'll be playing for in Cardiff for was considerably more than that. That's kind of the way it works."