Signings Update: More moving and shaking in the EIHL

Mark Matheson's move from Sheffield Steelers to Nottingham Panthers has arguably been the most surprising so far this summer (PHOTO: Dean Woolley)

The market is continuing to gather pace ahead of the new season with all but one Elite League team involving in some level of movement since we last rounded things up.

Prizes for the biggest surprises can arguably go to Nottingham Panthers as coach Tim Wallace made his first moves since joining the club, swooping to take experienced defenceman Mark Matheson from Sheffield Steelers, where both men played together.

All of the moves will no doubt have an impact on the offers to bet online for the winner of the 2019/20 Elite League.

Matheson comes in as Wallace’s player-assistant coach after two years with the Steelers and Panthers’ Director of Hockey, Guillaume Doucet told the club’s website his experience stood out.

“I think he will be an asset to the club, he has a fair bit of coaching experience already, he knows Tim Wallace well, he knows our league and he knows what we are aiming to achieve next season,” he said. 

“He’s excited to be joining us and of course he knows all about our rivalries with other teams.”

Going out the other way is long-serving GB defenceman Stevie Lee, who is leaving the Motorpoint Arena after a decade, but as yet, his new destination is unknown.

Stevie Lee is leaving Nottingham Panthers after a decade (PHOTO: Panthers Images)

According to the Panthers’ website, Lee had been in negotiation about extending his stay, but has taken the decision to take his career elsewhere.

One of the biggest signings of the week is the move of Fife Flyers goalie Shane Owen to Belfast Giants, where he’ll replace the outgoing Tyler Beskorowany.

The 29-year-old was a popular figure at the Flyers and was an impressive figure for them over his two spells, picking up a .909 save percentage.

He spoke to A View from the Bridge, the official Belfast Giants podcast, who announced his move and Owen is keen to make an impression with his new club, with the Champions Hockey League coming up.

He said: “I am excited to get started in Belfast and play in the Champions League with the Giants. I spoke to Adam and I’m looking forward to training camp in August that will set us up well for the season.

“As long as I put the work in and get prepared to play – I want to go out and give my team a chance to win on every night. Having played against the Giants for a number of years – I am well aware of how great the city of Belfast is and how passionate the fans are.”

Another Fife Flyer leaving for an Elite League rival is Evan Bloodoff, who ends his two-year stay in Kirkcaldy to join up with Danny Stewart at Coventry Blaze.

The 28-year-old has been a key offence player for Todd Dutiaume’s men in the last couple of seasons and that productivity is what made Stewart move for the Canadian.

He told the Blaze website: “With losing some key guys from last season, it’s vital that we replace production and adding a guy like Evan who has scored over 60 goals the past two seasons does that. 

“At times, I felt when games got heavy we had a tough time scoring those dirty goals, so adding a guy like Evan is important and the fact he’s a veteran, will prove important with a younger group.”

Going out the exit door at the Skydome is 29-year-old forward Jake Hansen, who is off to Slovakia to play for HKM Zvolen.

One other inter-EIHL switch was one that saw Danish forward Lukas Lundvald, who’s been at Dundee Stars for the last season and a half, take up an offer with Ryan Finnerty’s Manchester Storm.

In his time with the Tayside outfit, he accumulated 72 points in 83 games and there were certainly things coach Finnerty liked about him.

Lukas Lundvald is off to Manchester Storm (PHOTO: Derek Black)

He told the Manchester Storm website: “Lukas is a player that we have been able to watch a lot over the last few seasons. I really like his energy and the tenacity he brings to the game.

“We had some good conversations about what is expected in Manchester and how I want him to play. I believe he can round-out his game this year and take it up a level.

“I am really excited to work with Lukas this coming season and I am sure the Storm fans will love watching him play.”

While Lundvald bid his farewells to Dundee, Stars were warmly welcoming latest signing Anthony Beauregard, who arrived from ECHL side Brampton Beast.

The 23-year-old notched 29 points from 71 appearances and is already excited to be going to a club where there’s at least one familiar face.

He told the Stars website: “I’m really excited as it’s going to be my first year in Europe.

(PHOTO: Kyran Thicke and Briana Thicke, Concordia Stingers)

“I know some guys there like Shawn (Boutin) and I know some things from what the head coach has told me, I think it is going to be fun.

“From the conversations I had with Omar, I just found that it was a perfect fit for me to come to Dundee and I just want to prove to everybody that I can be a good player.”

In among all that, three other players committed to their respective clubs for another seasons.

TJ Foster has agreed to a second season with Guildford Flames after a good first year that saw them finishing in the top half of the table for a second year and reach both the Challenge Cup final and Play-off finals weekends.

Glasgow Clan have tied up Matt Beca on another deal for his third year in four at the Scottish club, where he will also act as assistant coach to Zack Fitzgerald.

While Carlo Finucci’s return softened the blow of the Fife Flyers’ fans, reeling from the news of the departures of Messrs Owen and Bloodoff as he agreed to come back for what will be his fourth season at the club.

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