Hockey season is officially in the books with the Pittsburgh Penguins claiming their second straight Stanley Cup last night against the Nashville Predators.
In Boise, the Idaho Steelheads are already looking forward to October and erasing last season's 1st round exit to the eventual ECHL champs the Colorado Eagles. Even though the season is over the season work for Coach Graham and his staff have just begun.
"Over the last month, we have really put together a list of some early contacts especially with the free agents coming over from the NCAA. The majority of the signings come at the end of July right thru the end of August. Right now it's building a lot of relationships,” said, Steelheads Head Coach Neil Graham.
Coach Graham was pleased with what his team accomplished this season skating to 43 wins. It was good enough for third in the division and tied for sixth in the entire league of 27 teams.
After all that hard work a first round playoff loss was a bitter pill to swallow even if it was to the eventual champs. It's the second year in a row that has happened to the Steelheads.
"I would like use to continue to get a little more speed and skill up front. If we address those areas that should up make things easier in the postseason," said, Graham.
Free agent deals won't hit the market for Idaho until June 16th. So for now, it's all about research looking for players who can bring quickness the lineup and who will be a good fit for the team. That might even include players who've worn a Steelheads jersey before.
"There's a lot of really good pieces that we will have returning and I think it's our job to make sure we are more competitive for that playoff round," said, Graham.
Along with his own team coach Graham expects to see some new realignment in the league with the Alaska Aces ceasing operations.
"When you lose a team like Alaska I suspect we will see another team join our division and I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few more teams added to our division in the coming weeks," said, Graham.