Fife Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume is hoping that his long-awaited new signing can spur his team onto better things in 2017.
The three-month wait for a replacement for the injured Shayne Stockton finally ended this week with the arrival of Bryan Cameron, who will make his debut in the Manchester Storm double-header this weekend.
Cameron joins from ECHL outfit Atlanta Gladiators, and Dutiaume is looking forward to bringing much-needed balance and depth to an injury-hit forward line.
“Any time you bring new life into the dressing room it makes everybody stand up and take notice, and you tend to get guys upping their game,” Dutiaume said.
“A guy coming out of the North American atmosphere and playing at that level gives everyone a boost.
“It’s something we’ve sorely need – another right handed forward – and we probably need another one if possible.
“Brendan Brooks is our only right handed forward after the injury to Stockton. I keep going back to it, but that was a pivotal loss for this club – a lot of our offence was built around Shayne and he always had an impact in a game.
“Not having those right handed options effectively limits you on powerplays and guys playing their off wings may sound like a small thing, but it isn’t.
“We’ve been looking to replace since that time but, unfortunately, this has just been a season where right handers have not been available for some reason – but I think we’ve found a good one in Bryan.
“He’s going to give us some grit and he’s not a guy who’s scared to stand in front of the net, something we lack at times. He’ll be getting on the forecheck and standing on top of opposition goaltenders.”
While the recruitment of Cameron brings Flyers back up to 15 imports, one over the quota, following the departure of Stockton, injuries to Chase Schaber and Sebastian Thinel could mean that the Kirkcaldy side remain short-handed for the trip to Manchester on Saturday.
“There’s not been many games this season where we’ve had a full complement of imports,” Dutiaume said. “That’s a significant point.
“We need a full line up to run these systems because guys get exhausted, and then the system doesn’t become the system. I’ve complained about guys going renegade on different plays. It creeps into the line-up and it comes from mental and physical fatigue.
“We’re one over the quota and I’ll wait for guidance from my directors but we’ve seen by the injuries this season that having an extra would certainly be beneficial for us, although I know finances come into it.
“What I’d really like is to get this line-up looking exactly like I want it to be - 100 per cent healthy, and start taking proper runs at teams here.”
Dutiaume has not closed the door on possible further signings, confirming that he is “constantly looking to make this a better club” but he is not expecting further additions before the weekend.
Flyers travel to Manchester on Saturday before welcoming Storm to Fife Ice Arena for a 6.30 p.m face-off on Sunday - both Schaber and Thinel will attempt to prove their fitness ahead of the games.
“Chase is going to try getting on the bike tonight (Wednesday) and if that goes well he’ll have a light skate tomorrow,” Dutiaume confirmed. “All being well he can then start increasing his workload. We’ll take it a step at a time, and hopefully get him back in the line-up quickly.
“With regards Sebastian, if he feels in practice that he he can take shots, and has confidence in the hand, then he’s maybe a possibility.
“He’s been skating with us but hasn’t been taking part in game-pace or full training so there will be a period as well that he’ll need to get himself back into game shape.”