Devils bolster defence with O’Connor addition

Ben O'Connor is Cardiff bound (PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

Cardiff Devils head coach Jarrod Skalde believe new defenceman Ben O’Connor can continue to be a dominant presence in the Elite League.

The GB defenceman has been snapped up by the South Wales after leaving Sheffield Steelers after the conclusion of the 2019/20 season – a campaign that ended with O’Connor helping Steelers defeat the Devils in the Challenge Cup final ironically.

And O’Connor’s display for the national team stood out for Skalde as he weighed up the option to bring him in.

“Ben is a very talented player and has huge offensive upside,” the Cardiff coach said. “I started seriously watching him at the World Championships and was impressed with his overall game.

“He skates so well, has great hands, he plays with poise and makes simple plays everywhere on the ice.

O’Connor impressed new coach Jarrod Skalde in the World Championships (PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

“I have spoken to him a ton over the last few weeks, and he is very motivated this season to show us that he can be a dominant player in this league again. I believe he can be as well.”

O’Connor is a two-time league winner and has won the play-offs as well as the Challenge Cup as he joins a Devils side still rebuilding and looking different under Skalde.

He turned out for Sheffield Steeldogs in the Spring Cup earlier this year, picking up seven goals and 19 assists in 12 games as Greg Wood’s side took the trophy.

Jordan Buesa is back with Glasgow Clan, where he began his Elite League career in 2016 (PHOTO: Flyers Images)

Elsewhere, Elite League sides continued their recruitment activities in the last couple of days, with three other clubs also adding to their ranks.

Glasgow Clan were the busiest, announcing two signings in the last two days, bringing in experienced forward Colton Yellow Horn, joining from Erste Liga outfit SC Csikszereda.

On Friday, they added to that by bringing back young Scottish forward Jordan Buesa, who was previously at Fife Flyers.  Buesa left Clan initially in 2018/

Coventry Blaze strengthened their defensive core with the addition of Nathanael Halbert, who joins from AHL side Laval Rocket.

While Manchester Storm have brought in Curtis Hamilton, who was previously with Belfast Giants in the 2019/20 season.

“I am delighted to have got this deal over the line, as some big clubs were chasing him,” Storm coach Ryan Finnerty said. “His experiences in Manchester and chance to recapture his form were too much for him to pass up on.”

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