With teams across the Elite League set to swing back into action this weekend, BIH takes a look at 10 players who could make an impact this season:
Jesse Schultz (Sheffield Steelers) – The Canadian forward has the speed and skill to make a big impression on the British game.
Just two seasons ago Schultz (above) was the third-highest scorer in the East Coast Hockey League and he has scored more than 20 goals on four different occasions in the AHL.
Patrick Bordeleau (Cardiff Devils) – Player/Coach Andrew Lord has assembled an impressive-looking roster, but the ex-Colorado Avalanche enforcer could well be the icing on the cake.
While Bordeleau will be expected to protect the Devils’ flair players, Lord believes the Canadian will offer much more to his team than physicality.
Daniel Åhsberg (Braehead Clan) – Jeff Ulmer and Jay Rosehill may be Clan’s biggest ‘name’ signings, but Åhsberg may easily turn out to be the pick of the bunch.
The 31-year-old has been a consistent points scorer in Sweden and his speed is likely to cause EIHL defences plenty of headaches this season.
Alex Foster (Belfast Giants) – Captained the Toronto Marlies in the AHL and has gone on to forge a successful career in Europe.
With an extra yard of pace Foster (above) could have established himself in the NHL, but certainly has the ability to do serious damage in the EIHL.
Brian McGrattan (Nottingham Panthers) – With over 650 NHL and AHL games on his CV, McGrattan is arguably the biggest name signing of the summer.
McGrattan will ensure Panthers won’t be bullied, but he also proved he could play a bit with the San Diego Gulls in the AHL last season and should provide more than just toughness to the team.
Sebastian Thinel (Fife Flyers) – The Canadian forward has enjoyed a prolific career in the CHL, averaging well over a point per game.
Thinel has also produced the goods in France and his scoring touch, coupled with his ability to look after himself, will make for a heady mix in the British game.
Joe Fallon (Dundee Stars) – Head Coach Marc LeFebvre was keen to improve his team’s netminding and the former Chicago Blackhawks’ draft pick (above) looks to be an excellent signing.
Fallon’s performances in Europe over the last three seasons suggest he will help Stars tighten up at the back.
Bjorn Bombis (Coventry Blaze) – The German forward has impressed during pre-season and looks to be a shrewd pick-up by new Blaze boss Danny Stewart.
With smooth puck-handling skills and an ability to bring his teammates into play, Bombis will be a key part of the Blaze’s offensive armoury this season.
The 25-year-old has spent the last four years in the NCAA Division 1 with the University of Alabama-Huntsville and a solid season with Storm could see him force his way back into the GB squad.
Pavel Vorobyev (Edinburgh Capitals) – Drafted by the Blackhawks in 2000, Vorobyev went on to bag 25 points in 57 NHL games. The Russian forward also notched 98 points from 168 games for the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate, the Norfolk Admirals.
He returned to his homeland in 2006 to play in the KHL and represents a major coup for the Capitals as they look to improve on their dismal showing last season.