SHEFFIELD STEELERS’ head coach Paul Thompson believes the “hockey intelligence” of Sweden’s Fredrik Vestberg will see him go down well with the club’s fans.
The 32-year-old forward first caught Thompson’s eye when he was coaching in Sweden with Troja Llungby three years ago. But the admiration clearly works both ways with Thompson being able to persuade Vestberg to switch to the Uk for the first time in his 13-year career.
Vestberg has played the previous 13 seasons (549 games) in the Swedish Allsvenskan and the last eight years with his hometown club in Almtuna.
“I like my centre men to be responsible in all areas of the ice,” said Thompson. “I know the Swedish game and they have to be smart defensively and Fredrik is that. He plays the game at high speed and has a great skill set.”
During his time at Almtuna, Vestberg ,ade 317 appearamnces in total, scoring 76 goals and 132 assists, statistics that helped persuade Thompson to make his move.
“I think the Steelers fans are going to enjoy his hockey intelligence, his smartness,” added Thompson.
“To score the points he did on a consistent level in the Allsvenskan is a credit.”
Vestberg said the time had come for him and his family to move on from Almtuna and admitted to being swayed into making theswitch to South Yorkshire by Thompson.
“I’m at the right age to do this and I’m excited to be coming to England and joining a club like Sheffield,” he said.
“My family and I have always enjoyed England and when the opportunity came our way we knew it was the right time. I did my homework on Sheffield and knowing Paul Thompson a little also was a factor.
“He knows my style and what I am like. I hope my speed will be a factor. I am a good skater and also handle the puck well. I like to set up plays and make good passes to my team-mates.”