YOU’D expect the first ever player to skate directly from the NHL into Sheffield Steelers’ line up would command the club’s biggest ever salary. Yet nothing could be further from the truth.
The arrival tomorrow, of Tom Sestito, who played 14 games for Philadelphia Flyers last season before the current lock-out, is not a signal that Sheffield are smashing the wage ceiling.
In fact, he is probably earning less than Cory Pecker, whom he replaces in the line-up, at least until the NHL strike is over.
Sestito, 25, simply wants to go somewhere to keep fit, waiting for the opportunity for when the NHL resumes. He wanted somewhere where he is guaranteed ice time and in a country which will provide a complete change of scenery. Most of the money he will earn in Sheffield will fund his own insurance.
Coach Ryan Finnerty explained: “Tom has played 27 games for Columbus Blue Jackets and Flyers and is on the verge of breaking through in the world’s greatest league. So far, at 6ft 5ins, he has had to run around fighting every night in the role of an enforcer.
“By coming here he’ll keep fit and get plenty of ice time, play on the Power Play, keeping up with the AHL players that will be competing for his job when he gets back. Look at Wade Belak. He played in so many roles for Coventry Blaze that it extended his career in the NHL. Tom brings us size and toughness but is coming here to play.”