Steelers set to swoop for highly rated Russian

Lemtyugiv is officially a Steelers - as we revealed two weeks ago (PHOTO: Andreas Robanser)

Sheffield Steelers are on the verge of a deal to bring Russian winger Nikolai Lemtyugov to the UK, according to British Ice Hockey sources.

The 33-year-old has played most of his career in his native Russia, but teamed up with new Steelers coach Aaron Fox at Medvescak Zagreb at the start of last season.

Financial problems at the EBEL side meant a move just before Christmas to South Korean side Anyang Halla in the Asia League where he saw out the rest of the campaign.

But it is understood the six-foot winger, who can play on either flank, could be reunited with his old coach in England sources saying a deal to bring him to the Elite League is close.

Steelers boss Aaron Fox was Lemtyugov’s coach at Medvescak Zagreb last season and could be reunited with him (PHOTO: GEPA)

Lemtyugov has over 400 games of experience in the KHL, between regular season and play-off games, along with just under 100 games in the AHL, playing with Peoria Rivermen, where Cardiff Devils forward Charles Linglet was a former team-mate.

A move to the UK is his preferred option and it’s understood Steelers will have to beat off stiff competition from teams in the KHL, who want to bring him back to Russia.

However we understand a deal has been struck allowing the player the option of signing in the KHL for the next couple of weeks if he can secure a contract there.

But hopes are high that Sheffield can land a player who could become a key part of their bid to return to challenging for the title again next season.

If they are to land their man, it would be Fox’s fifth new signing for his team and Lemtyugov would also reunite with John Armstrong, another former team-mate from his time in Croatia.

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