Sheffield Steelers should have goals from their defence as well as their forward lines

Will Sheffield Steelers be able to boast the most offensive and mobile defensive unit in the Elite League next year?
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Coach Aaron Fox’s latest addition, Brien Diffley, is a player keen on performing a two-way game and wants to improve his offensive output with his new team.

So far, Sheffield have announced the arrivals of him and new import Kevin Tansey, who also likes the thrill of scoring and assisting. The duo will join the more defensive-minded Brit Sam Jones.

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The club has also signed another D-man who has a highly impressive statistical points record in both north America and Europe.

Brien DiffleyBrien Diffley
Brien Diffley

And if they re-sign Matt Petgrave – and why wouldn’t they try to secure the joint top points-taker from last year’s roster – then they will look to have a very versatile back end indeed.

Diffley shares the same agent as Petgrave and sought a reference on the club from him before accepting his first EIHL contract.

Now Diffley is planning to make an impact on the UK scene.

“You can see from my stats that I am two-way and can contribute offensively,” he said. “But it is a goal of mine this year to do more, offensively.

Matt PetgraveMatt Petgrave
Matt Petgrave
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“My strength is around the D zone, making breakout passes, moving the puck, and assisting overall.”

Diffley is aware that no defensive corps can be too committed to attacking though.

“For me, it would be fun to play with a guy who plays offensively because I feel I can anchor on the back end too.

“My numbers are not going to overwhelm anybody but with my legs, puck movement, joining the rush, setting up plays, I definitely think I can make a pretty strong impact on the game.”

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The 28-year-old American, who played for Paul Thompson’s Odense in Denmark last season, hopes to make some impact on Sheffield special teams, but knows he will have to earn that role.

“I didn’t get as much time as I thought I was going to in Denmark, but it didn’t really affect my overall game.

“The first Power Play unit was close to 40 percent (scoring rate) so you can’t argue with that.

“For me, if being on the power play gets me more involved that’s good, it means I have more chances to use my playmaking ability. And that is important to me just because I feel that it rounds my game.

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“I play better when I am playing big minutes and important situations and getting in the flow of the game.

“I have to work hard to prove I deserve a spot on the PP; we’ll see how it goes.

“I am really excited to get over there.”