RYAN Finnerty hasn’t ruled out a return to Sheffield Steelers for Danny Wood, despite seeing him switch to neighbouring Sheffield Steeldogs.
This summer saw the 23-year-old forward return to the city where he was born to resume his hockey career in the UK after several years studying and playing in North America.
He played a handful of games for the Steelers as a 15-year-old before moving abroad, but his second stint at the club has failed to meet expectations, prompting a move to English Premier League outfit the Steeldogs, who he was expected to play for last night at home to Swindon Wildcats.
Wood’s exit coincides with that of NHL forward Tom Sestito, although the Steelers won’t be too short on numbers with the eagerly-anticipated arrival of forward Simon Ferguson as well as that of defenceman Chris Frank, whose signing was confirmed last night.
Frank’s arrival is timely given Steelers’ head coach Finnerty is down to four defenceman with Danny Meyers (concussion) and James Jorgenson (ankle) out of the line-up.
Finnerty said he had hoped to see Wood on the roster of another Elite League club, but was glad he had remained with in Sheffield.
“It’s good that Danny’s stuck around in Sheffield,” said Finnerty. “We just couldn’t get him the ice time that he needs here, which was unfortunate.
“But he’ll go there, get more ice time and have a point to prove. There’s potential there for sure and the EPL is a good league for him.
“The selfish thing would have been to keep him here and not play him, but he works hard, he’s a good kid and I certainly wouldn’t rule out him returning here some day.”
American-born Frank arrives in the UK today on the same flight as Ferguson, whose signing was announced almost two weeks ago.
The 26-year-old blue liner was a long-time target of Finnerty’s in the summer but chose to remain in North America. He comes in with a reputation as a no-nonsense defenceman, having spent last season with Cardiff Devils where he racked up a staggering 324 penalty minutes in 51 games.
But Finnerty insists there is much more to his game.
“I went after him in the summer,” said Finnerty. “I just like the way he plays. He’s mean and tough, but there’s a lot more to his game than his stats suggest.
“I hope he can solidify the blue line for us and be that hard-nosed defenceman that we perhaps sometimes lack back there.”