The Devils’ regular season title, Erhardt Conference and Challenge Cup successes last term have seen the organisation nominated by the Alliance of European Hockey Clubs (EHC) for the prestigious Club of the Year award and they are heavily fancied for more glory next term.
Four of the Cardiff line-up are gold medal winners after sealing promotion with Great Britain at the recent IIHF World Championship (Division 1B) tournament in Belfast.
Goalie Ben Bowns did an outstanding job minding the net, and that level of excellence is expected to help the Devils next season.
Cardiff boasted some serious firepower last season, with the likes of Joey Martin, Andrew Hotham and Layne Ulmer all finishing in the top 15 on the points scorers list.
Patrick Asselin and Sean Bentivoglio added further depth, while Mark Richardson was a regular points contributor from the blueline in front of Bowns.
The Devils’ success was built on special teams, with their powerplay operating around the 20% mark and the penalty-killing unit returning percentages in the high 80s throughout the campaign.
As the league’s top team, it’s no surprise that Cardiff had the upper hand in their head-to-head records with the majority of their rivals.
In 16 league games against teams from north of the border, the Devils lost just once and a repeat of that in 2017/18 would be the perfect platform to build from.
Player/Coach Andrew Lord has already started to assemble his roster for next season, with Martin and Richardson agreeing another year in Wales.
Promising British defender Craig Moore has joined the club from Dundee Stars, although forward Guillaume Doucet has left to join MK Lightning.
With Lightning and Guildford Flames boosting the league’s numbers to 12 next season, the EIHL is on an upward curve.
Sheffield and Belfast Giants are likely to be the main challengers once again, with the Steelers in particular able to take heart from their victory over Cardiff in last season’s play-off final.
Nottingham Panthers and Braehead Clan are other teams who will fancy their chances of success.
The Devils will also have the opportunity to tackle some of Europe’s top teams in this year’s Champions Hockey League (CHL) alongside the Panthers.
Lord’s team are in Group E alongside HC Davos (Switzerland), Bili Tygri Liberac (Czech Republic) and Vaxjo Lakers (Sweden), providing the club and its fans with the chance to see how they match up against clubs higher up the IIHF rankings.
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