Sheffield Steelers: Coach Aaron Fox completes his forward thinking for the 2022-23 Elite League season

AND then there were two.

With today’s announcement of three import forwards - Daniel Ciampini, Brett Neumann and Brandon McNally - Sheffield Steelers’ head coach Aaron Fox now has just a couple of slots left to fill on his 2022-23 roster.

The identity of the starting goaltender and remaining defencemen is expected to be revealed next week but, in completing his forward positions, Fox has added a wealth of experience.

Of the three, Brandon McNally will be the most instantly recognisable to Steelers’ fans, the US-born 30-year-old winger having spent last season with the Cardiff Devils.

INCOMING (from left): Import forwards Daniel Ciampini, Brandon McNally and Brett Neumann are determined to make an impact when they face-off

With over 60 AHL and almost 150 ECHL appearances to his name, McNally - who played for Italy at the World Championships in Finland earlier this year - has been well-travelled since leaving North America in 2018, playing in Italy, Denmark and Sweden before landing in South Wales last summer where he went on to post 22 points - including 15 goals - from 51 appearances for the Devils.

At 31, Ciampini is the oldest of the trio and has also spent the past few seasons in Europe, last season splitting his time between Czechia and Italy.

Neumann, 23, got his first taste of European hockey in Czechia only last season, having spent the best part of 2020-21 in the ECHL.

As you would expect, Fox has done his homework on all three as he attempts to put together a roster which can deliver the Steelers a first regular season title since 2016.

DELIGHTED: Sheffield Steelers' head coach Aaron Fox. Picture courtesy of Dean Woolley/SteelersMedia

“I'm delighted with this trio," said Fox "I believe we now have an exciting and balanced forward line up.

“Ciampini is going to come in and be a guy who we expect to be a top player for us, while Brett is a natural centre who can play all three forward positions. I believe he will come in and run some big numbers for us.

“In Brandon I don’t think we could have found a better guy to come in and play a role which gives us something we have lacked in previous years.

“He is big, skates well and when engaged is an extremely effective player. I had many conversations with him and there isn’t a guy coming in with a bigger chip on their shoulder and more excited to get started.”