Continuity was one of the main goals for Fife Flyers’ coaching staff this season - a determination to retain the key players from last season and then build on solid foundations.
It’s still only mid-June and already they have key defenceman Kyle Haines and netminder Kevin Regan back. Now they have kept their star man - Jordan Fulton.
If anyone sat at the top of the ‘wanted list’ of returnees it was surely the #26.
Make no mistake, this is a huge re-signing.
Coach Todd Dutiaume hailed him as ‘‘an absolute machine’’ while his assistant, Danny Stewart’s unique description of ‘‘a bull on the wing’’ is actually spot-on.
Fulton is a grafter, a relentless thorn in the side of every defenceman who has to try to keep him away from the puck, and he’s a game-winner.
He was the spark which fired the Fife machine which charged all the way to the championship finals.
He’s the closest Flyers have had to a Russell Monteith type forward since Monty hung up his skates a decade back - a player who combines strength with skill and wraps it in a relentless work ethic. The only difference is where Monty was laid back, Fulton is fantastically feisty.
He has an edge to his game, a willingness to stand his ground, to go in where it hurts, to noise up players - he must be an utter pain to play against, and I mean that as a compliment.
Knock him down he just gets back up and goes again, and he does it shift after shift after shift, soaking up huge ice time every night. Little wonder most EIHL teams were keen to see if he could be prised from Fife.
Fulton will be expected to deliver again next season as Flyers seek to build on their achievements to date. This isn’t a team looking to stand still; not that Fults does much of that when he laces up his skates.
With Regan in the nets and Haines back on D, Flyers have made a good start to building their 2014-15 core roster.
The continuity has started and that puts them well ahead of the curve from the summer of 2013.
Down at Nottingham, Dutiaume was asked about team building. He gave nothing away, but added a cryptic ‘‘hey, but how do you know we haven’t started?’’ which went unreported in the general chat of the media room.
The early announcements of the return of key guys such as Regan, Haines and now Fulton would suggest the coach was already busy...