On That Bohmbach…

Jono Bullard looks Panthers latest signing of Andy Bohmbach and the clubs decision to start the season with twelve imports rather than the permitted thirteen.

It’s been over a month since Panthers last announced an import signing in the shape of defenceman Geoff Waugh, so the signing tonight of forward  Andy Bohmbach has been met with a great deal of relief.

28 year old left wing Bombach joins the club from Dorbiner EC of Austria’s Erste Bank Liga, having had previous spells in the ECHL and Germany’s DEL2 where he averaged over a point a game. On the Panthers website coach Corey Neilson says of his new forward “Bohmbach is a big guy who skates well and plays centre and left wing which increases our options. We’ve found over the years that guys who are over or around a point per game at the ECHL and DEL2 level are great offensive contributors in the EIHL.”
Bohmbach looks to be exactly the sort of player who will do very well in the Elite League and looks to be in his prime at just 28. With his pedigree I would expect him to finish amongst the top point scorers in the EIHL next season.

However it is Neilson’s words in the Nottingham Post this evening that has caused concerns amongst some of the fanbase. Speaking to the Posts’ Panthers reporter Matt Davies, Neilson said “I could sign six import forwards and that would mean having a 13th forward but I’m not going to do that. I’ve gone that way because I’m so confident in the ability of the Brits.”

There has been quite an outcry over the fact that Neilson will go with one less import which is perfectly understandable and some fans feel they have been short changed, which I also understand.  I admit that the news did take me by surprise but speaking personally, I’m not too concerned by this. The reason is the quality of our British contingent as I wrote on here yesterday, especially in the forward lines. With five British forwards & seven import forwards, Panthers will still play four lines while also having seven defensemen & two net minders for a total bench of 21 players, depth we haven’t seen since the days of the Ice Hockey Superleague.

While the Panthers are the richest team in the league and have great resources at their disposal, like any business they will still have to work to a budget. I’d much rather we sign four more imports of excellent quality than sign five that aren’t as good. With the Brits at our disposal I firmly believe the club can still be successful with that set-up, but a lot will depend on the quality of the remaining four import signings. It will be an interesting few weeks.

Agree or disagree with Jono? Leave a comment in the box below or you can reach him on Twitter @JonoBullard

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