Flyers update: Signed, sealed, delivered - tough d-man in for weekend

editorial image

Stepping off a plane and going straight into the dressing-room is an occupational hazard for ice hockey player.

Over the years, more than a few have rolled straight into the rink and barely had time to complete introductory handshakes with their new team-mates before lacing up and playing it off the cuff.

Sleep? It can wait until the final buzzer has sounded.

Defenceman Matt Nickerson may well have to play through the fog of jet lag as he ices for Fife Flyers against Cardiff Devils on Saturday.

The American, drafted by the club to add some toughness to the blue line, was finally announced late on Friday - although his signing was anything but a secret.

He joins Derek Roehl as an eve of season double signing 24 hours before the first league fixtures.

At six-four, Nickerson is going to be a big player - in every way.

His stats come with hefty PIMs underlining one role he will play in adding some muscle and grit to a team that has traditionally relied on its skating abilities - and done so with great success.

A native of Connecticut, he comes to Fife from the Finnish League where he iced with KooKoo - the same team as another summer signing, Justin DaCosta.

His 140 gamesd there delivered some 537 PIMs as well as stats of 12+20.

His Hockey CV from ‘back home’ is pretty good too with spells in the AHL with Iowa Stars and Springfield Falcons.

What can Flyers’ fans expect?

The coaching staff talked in terms of presence, physicality and strength.

Danny Stewart, assistant coach, said: “We were keen to get somebody like Matt in place this season.

‘‘His physicality and presence on the back balances our d core and provides our skilled guys with some space. He has played at some top levels and we are getting a good hockey player as well who is very sound in his own end.”

Todd Dutiaume, head coach, admitted it was a change of approach, adding: “Having a tough guy like Matt is something we haven’t had in Fife for a number of years.

‘‘During the summer Danny and I spoke about identifying a tough guy to bring, in but Matt is more than just a tough guy. His size and strength are big assets.’’

Flyers season begins at home to Cardiff Devils on Saturday and then takes them to Edinburgh on Sunday night.

Devils have been busy throughout the summer to assemble a good-looking side, while Caps appear to be slightly behind the ball in terms of adding personnel - but their rink remains a difficult place to accrue points, and their impressive results from last season underline they cannot be taken lightly.

>> The FFP will be carrying live updates on Twitter - simple follow @fifefreepressed and @mattelder_ffp and keep up to date with all things Flyers!