Brandon Benedict makes a huge contribution to Belfast Giants
Brandon Benedict is set to play a major part in the Belfast Giants' Elite League title challenge, despite being signed as a stop-gap.
The 33-year-old was brought back to the Odyssey Arena, where he played in the 2010 Play-off title winning team, after a spell with the Nottingham Panthers, in the summer, but in an off-ice management role and was only expected to play in emergencies.
Now, however, Benedict is combining his office duties with being a key member of Derrick Walser's attack and that is the way it is going to be for the rest of the season.
"Brandon Benedict won't come out of the line-up again," said Walser, ahead of tonight's opening game of a home double-header against the Cardiff Devils.
"He is great on and off the ice and he does the little things well.
"He was a big part of our win in Coventry last weekend and had a real edge to his game.
"He was going hard into the corners and once we started scoring everyone else followed him.
"He was only meant to play part-time, but now he's in I don't want to see him out.
"In this league he is a top-six player in any team."
Had Walser been able to ice a full roster then Benedict may never have been used in the first place, but the injury to Chris Higgins is taking longer than expected to heal and Johan Ejdepalm could be facing another two months out, leaving the Giants possibly looking at bringing in a replacement defenceman.