VIDEO - Sheffield Steelers v Nottingham Panthers: Markus Nilsson plots triumphant end to debut UK season

MARKUS NILSSON has enjoyed his first season of the Elite League and is keen to repeat the experience in 2017-18.

OPTIMISTIC: Sheffield Steelers' centre, Markus Nilsson. Picture: Dean Woolley.

Sheffield Steelers’ boss Paul Thompson brought the 26-year-old centre over to the UK’s top-flight from his native Sweden last summer, having worked with him previously during his time as Troja-Llungby coach in 2013-14.

Thompson went on to coach in Denmark the following year before taking over the reins at Sheffield Arena in the summer of 2015.

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Just over 12 months later, Nilsson was one of Thompson’s first signings ahead of the 2016-17 season, now one of four Swedish players on the Steelers’ roster.

While silverware has so far proved elusive in Thompson’s second season in charge, this weekend presents an opportunity to end the season on a high as they begin their Elite League play-off campaign.

A two-legged quarter-final against arch-rivals Nottingham Panthers may not present the simplest route to the Final Four Weekend at the National Ice Centre on April 8-9, but the Steelers enter the first round of the post-season in confident mood.

“I’ve really enjoyed it over here,” said Nilsson, who has contributed six goals and 28 assists in 65 appearances. “I wanted to try something new in terms of a team and league and this has been such a great fit.

“Of course I would like to come back next season - I like the city, I like the team and everything about it.”

OPTIMISTIC: Sheffield Steelers' centre, Markus Nilsson. Picture: Dean Woolley.

Whether Nilsson gets to ply his trade for a second year in the UK’s top flight is a decision that lies with Thompson and his staff, with the former GB coach no doubt close to having made up his mind on which players whose deals run out this summer he wants to return.

But regardless of where his career takes him in 2017-18, Nilsson is determined to end his first season with the Steelers on a high.

“Missing out in the Cup final to Cardiff and losing out on the league title makes this more important to us,” added Nilsson.

“We want to make sure we win something this season and this is our last chance to do so. We’ve played Nottingham many times this season, so we both know each other pretty well.

Sheffield Steelers' head coach Paul Thompson. Picture: Dean Woolley.

“They should be two fun games to play in.”

OPTIMISTIC: Sheffield Steelers' centre, Markus Nilsson. Picture: Dean Woolley.
Sheffield Steelers' head coach Paul Thompson. Picture: Dean Woolley.