PAUL THOMPSON has hailed Jesse Schultz as the “perfect fit” for Sheffield Steelers after landing the talented winger for the 2016-17 campaign.
The 33-year-old Canadian joins Steelers after a year in the German second tier with SC Riessersee and arrives with an impressive CV which includes 285 points - including 129 goals - in just over 440 AHL appearances.
His last appearance in North America’s second tier came back in 2009 with the Houston Aeros, since which he has split his time between teams in Europe and closer to home back across the Atlantic.
He has also played in Italy and Sweden and his experience of European hockey should prove an advantage as Steelers embark on their second Champions Hockey League campaign in August.
It is against European opposition that Schultz will first be seen in action by Steelers fans when they warm up for the CHL against Denmark’s Aalborg Pirates - where Thompson coached in 2014-15 - on August 13 and 14.
“He is obviously an offensive talent, an offensive player,” said Thompson of a player who scored more than 20 goals on four different occasions in the AHL.
“I think we have a highly-skilled winger who will add a further offensive punch to the line up. He is a puck possession player who comes with a great shot. I like the way he fits into the line up alongside the variety of talent we have already put together.
“His stats say it all - he has put up outstanding numbers wherever he has played, in whichever league he has played in.
“Just two seasons ago he was the third-highest scorer in the East Coast league. His experience is vast, both in North America and Europe. He is a perfect fit for us.”
Thompson says he has five slots still to fill on his roster ahead of the 2016-17 campaign, including two more import forwards.
“We are happy where we are right now,” added Thompson.
“We are looking for specific pegs for those five specific roles and are painstakingly trying to find the right players.”
The Champions Hockey League, meanwhile, have confirmed dates for the Steelers’ group fixtures against Swedish side HV71 and Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg
The Steelers will start their campaign with a three-day road trip, playing HV71 on Thursday, August 18 before moving on to Austria to face Salzburg two days later.
His stats say it all - he has put up outstanding numbers wherever he has played, in whichever league he has played in.Sheffield Steelers’ head coach, Paul Thompson, on new signing Jesse Schultz
The Elite League champions will then play host to HV71 on Saturday August, 27, although the remaining home game against Red Bull Salzburg won’t be played until Sunday, September 11 due to the 10-day IIHF international break imposed on many of the sides in the competition due to them having players competing in Olympic pre-qualification tournaments around the world.
“The competition is incredibly tough but it’s the Champions League, its the best of the best and we want to be in that mix,” said Thompson. “It’s what drives us to be better.”