Sheffield Steelers: Sandström blow and bleak news on Connolly and Saxrud-Danielsen

Steelers' coach Aaron Fox says there are no hard feelings towards former player Lucas Sandström who had been on the cusp of a return to Sheffield.

Monday, 6th December 2021, 11:02 am

The 31-year-old Swede, who played 54 games for the EIHL club in the 2019-20 season, agreed a deal after leaving his Czech club HC Poruba, but then had to make his apologies and decline the Steelers' offer, due to personal reasons.

Fox was disappointed but hopes that by midweek he will have found a new skater, possibly a European-based player who has competed in the British league before.

The coach said of Sandström, 31: "There were some conversations that happened, he had been released from his team in Czech about 10 days ago, now, so he was back in Sweden. It felt like we were pretty close to getting a deal done to bring him in.

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Lucas Sandstrom Pic by Dean Woolley

"Then he called, something had come up back home and he had stuff going on that meant he had to stay closer there.

"He is a grown man, decisions are made, no hard feelings from my end" said Fox.

"I like Lucas, he is a guy that brings grit, energy, and a little different aspect of his game.

"We are still in the market right now for a short term injury cover for Saxy (Adrian Saxrud-Danielsen) and then for (Anthony) DeLuca's spot as well so we are in the market for a couple of guys.

Lucas Sandstrom and the suspended Anthony DeLuca. Pic by Dean Woolley

"We think that it would be nice for us to add a third line, energy guy that can play with pace and likes to get to the hard areas. I think we have a ton of scoring in our line up so that is what I am looking for."

Fox recognises that a threadbare formation of three lines of offensive players is not enough over the season to sustain a title tilt.

While the roster has "dug in and managed the weeks pretty well" they were worn out and needed some rest and rehabilitation before returning to on-ice training on Wednesday.

Some of his players were icing 24-28 minutes a game, he said.

Adrian Saxrd-Danilsen, pic by Bob Westerdale

"I do believe we will have some help coming in here and hopefully Hodgy (Justin Hodgman; upper body) it's not too long until we get him back too."

The extent of some elements of the injury situation is worse than fans had hoped.

Brendan Connolly has yet to have an operation but does need one.

"When it is that injury, apparently, they are supposed to rehab a little bit" before going under the knife, said the coach, who said the feisty forward was 95 percent likely to miss the rest of the campaign.

Saxrud-Danielsen was out for around EIGHT weeks, he confirmed.

Andreas Valdix had been particularly unlucky. He had been signed on for an extra week as injury cover, but then caught flu and was out for the back-to-back wins over Cardiff Devils and Dundee Stars.

Barry Brust, who was hurt in the recent Guildford Flames match, is recovering and is being monitored day-to-day.

After the weekend games, table-topping Sheffield remain three points clear of Guildford, with two games in hand.