Czech Mate for Neilson as Tuma Completes Roster

Nottingham Panthers roster for the upcoming 2012/13 Elite League season was completed this morning as the club announced 26 year old Czech defenceman Martin Tuma as their final import signing. At 6ft 3” and 5th round draft pick of the Florida Panthers in 2003, Tuma will add plenty of height & experience to an impressive looking defensive line-up as Panthers start the season with four imports on the blue line plus Brits Jonathan Weaver & Stevie Lee. Tuma has had previous stints in the AHL & ECHL as well as the top leagues in the Czech Republic, Austria & Slovakia as well as earning a bronze medal for the Czech Republic in the World Under 20 Championships in 2004/05 (Elite Prospects Stats).

Coach Corey Neilson, a former team-mate of Tuma’s, said of his final signing “He’s a big tough defence man who plays with an edge, the boss asked me to sum him up in a single word and I think ‘nasty’ would be as good as any.
“That’s what we wanted instead of a goon. He hits like a truck and can toss forwards around in the corners in the same manner Leppy (Gui Lepine) did last season. He can and will fight if necessary. He’s a team first guy who I played with during my last season in the States. He skates well and is a huge wall of muscle. He’s also a left shot which will help in important situations and helps to create more balance in our pairings on the blueline. He is keen on the defensive responsibilities and is excited to help lead our penalty kill and help us to shut down opposing teams’ top lines.”

A old scouting report seems to back up Neilson’s words, saying “Tuma possesses a very solid size and is beginning to use it to his advantage. He isn’t afraid of the rough stuff and is willing to make or take a hit. Tuma is tough along the boards, but can clear the crease with more intensity and toughness. On the defensive side he reads the plays adequately and has a solid positioning to avoid defensive zone gaffes. But he is still quite raw and can use better decision making with the puck. He is a so-so outlet passer, therefore he can still work on this skill. He has a very hard slap shot which is easily tippable and can be used as a point man on the power play. Mobility and skating isn’t a problem for him as he can rule the defensive zone with his smooth stride and acceleration. He’s adapted to the North American style well, not avoiding rough situations and being physical with opponents in the defensive zone. His decision-making ability could be better as he is prone to making a bad pass, but his skating for a big man is more than adequate.”

With the roster now complete, the only slight negative for me is the seeming lack of toughness throughout the squad, especially when compared to the rosters of Cardiff & Coventry. However I certainly won’t be writing off the team’s chances and to be honest I do get a little disheartened when some say we don’t stand a chance before a puck has even been dropped in anger. Look at it logically, can you see a pro such as David Ling being intimated by any other player in any other EIHL team because I certainly can’t. That said I do have a bit of a niggling doubt that there is no-one obvious who will ‘drop the gloves’, but it doesn’t worry me as much as others. Looking across the team I think we have an excellent balance with an excellent netminder, the best looking defence we’ve had in many a year and the usual potent attack, where I expect Ling, Graham and Fox to be the stars.

I see Tuma as a very good signing and certainly not the cheap option that some Panthers fans and fans of our rivals have suggested. I like the look of him and have a feeling he could turn out to be one of the season’s unsung heroes (much like Gui Lepine & Matt Francis. Both regarded as cheap options and ‘most likely to be first cut’ by some of our fanbase when they were signed). I’m happy with the signing and happy with the team, I can’t see any weak links within it. Roll on September 1st.


1 Response to “Czech Mate for Neilson as Tuma Completes Roster”

  1. 1 Phil Cooper August 7, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Jono – seems many are onto the rough stuff – Tuma doesnt seem to be a shrinking violet and is thought enough to fit the bill for their final defender. I dont see Ling, Fox, Francis, etc being intimidated. It could be there is enough skill in the foward lines to put many defenders into the sin bin, as with Finnerty last season.
    One view is that Lepine arrived a s a goon and improved as a player the longer he stayed. Tuma could do just as good a job. With “proper defenders” this year we could squeeze out many more points.

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