Sheffield Steelers: 'One of the best I've played with' - Martin St. Pierre's Arena arrival gains widespread approval
Martin St. Pierre's decision to play for Sheffield Steelers has caused as much positive feedback - if not more - than any other signing made by coach Aaron Fox this summer.
Former Sheffield defenceman Steve Munn has long been an admirer of the expert puck delivery man – and his reaction was typical of many who have seen him on the ice.
"Saintsy is a hell of a player. We were team-mates in Norfolk [Admirals; ECHL, where he was top scorer],” Munn said.
"He is one of the best playmakers and people I have ever played with.
"He is supremely talented and just a wicked guy - a great signing," added Munn, who had three seasons at the House of Steel.
Fox understands why fans and others inside the game are showing such interest in seeing him in orange too.
"He has come straight from such a high level, he had 27 games in the KHL last year (with Kunlun Red Star) and the year before had a good points score (with KHL teams Admiral Vladivostok and Barys Astana0,” he said.
"When a player like that comes to the EIHL from the KHL there is going to be a bit of excitement.
"Vally [Marc-Olivier Vallerand] scored more than 30 goals last season – and 34 the year before at Coventry Blaze – and is another big signing but he came from the Alps League and there is a gap there (with the KHL.)
"St. Pierre is not a burner (speed king) but he moves real well is a super, super smart player and if he gets a bit of time will make the right play.
"He is really good on Face Offs and the Power Play - he will be dangerous."
St. Pierre iced 39 NHL games for Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators, too.
Fox now has to start plotting who will play on which lines - he is attracted to the idea of three very strong lines, where the main assets are split up.
His whiteboard is chocked full of variations.
But in the friendly matches that have been scheduled, expect the line-up to start off with Vallerand paired with Brendan Connolly, John Armstrong with Nikolai Lemtyugov and St. Pierre with Michael Davies.
"We will mix it up (pre-season) and take it from there," said Fox.
Steelers are likely to announce what they are going to do about filling the assistant coach role in the next few days.
Nottingham Panthers-bound Mark Matheson filled the spot last season.