IT will be a case of one in and one out at Sheffield Steelers on Wednesday, with NHL forward Tom Sestito passing new arrival Simon Ferguson as he comes through the doors the other way at the Motorpoint Arena.
In an ideal world, Steelers head coach Ryan Finnerty would have put both players together in the Elite League but Sestito is returning to North America to reconsider his options as the lockout in the world’s top league continues.
It’s thought there are several possibilities elsewhere in Europe for Philadelphia Flyers winger Sestito to consider if the lockout is to continue further, all of them likely to pay more money than the Steelers.
Since arriving in South Yorkshire in early September, the 25-year-old American has made a sizable impact, scoring eight goals and 12 assists in his 17 appearances.
“We are sorry to see Tommy leave us. He made a hell of an impression in such a short period,“ said Finnerty. “But we can’t stand in his way and he has several other options should the NHL lockout continue.
“He’ll go home on Wednesday and I would think head back over to Europe before too long if the lockout continues. There are some big money teams looking for guys right now who can pay Tommy well.
“I wanted Tommy and Simon Ferguson to play together, but Tommy was up front with us all along and we wish him well.”
While clearly reluctant to see Sestito head elsewhere, the arrival of Ferguson is something that excites the Steelers’ head coach, presenting an opportunity to experiment with the make up of his forward lines.
“It will be nice to eventually see Simon in action, it’s been a while since we signed him,” added Finnerty, whose team are next in action at Ice Sheffield on Saturday night (7pm) against Edinburgh Capitals.
“He will be a very good fit here in Sheffield and a player, I feel, that can play on any line and do a great job for us. His arrival might give me the opportunity to shake the lines up a little.”