Steelers’ boss Doug Christiansen says competition for places - and employment at the club - will ensure skaters will give their best performances in the weeks to come.
If all his imports were fit now, the club would have three more than Elite teams are allowed on any one match-night roster. While Max Lacroix is out for months, Rylan Galiardi and Dustin Kohn are on their way back with the knowledge that few players’ jobs are totally secure.
Speaking on video at thestar.co.uk, Christiansen said: “Max isn’t back for a long time so we have got more immediate decisions in the coming week, that’s part of pro hockey. It is a business where you want to make sure you keep your players motivated and hungry and no better way to do that than have to make line-up decisions.”
Injuries forced him into the player market recently - and he seems to have significantly upgraded the team he started off with. Rob Sirianni scored a hat-trick on Sunday and Nate Dicasmirro has been an outstanding at centre. But the coach wasn’t prepared to acknowledge he now had a stronger side.
“It is too early to say that, obviously after one game (6-3 win over Cardiff) it’s easy to throw a bunch of praise on them, (new recruits) but there’s no question they were outstanding.
“Any time you have injuries it doesn’t necessarily strengthen you. When we get those players back we will be very deep as a hockey club.”
Christiansen did say that Sirianni had been signed as an “impact player” following games where scoring rates had been low.
“We needed somebody that could put the puck in the back of the net. He can do that. He isn’t going to have three goals every night, but he won battles on the wall and showed poise on the puck.”
Christiansen said that Saturday’s match at Fife would be a tough assignment: “It’s as difficult a place as there is in the League.”