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Walser: Szwez not coming back

By Stuart McKinley

Published 26/12/2015

Fans’ favourite: Former Giants star Jeff Szwez
Fans’ favourite: Former Giants star Jeff Szwez

Belfast Giants coach Derrick Walser has passed up the opportunity to bring former Odyssey fans' favourite Jeff Szwez a return to the club.

And while there is movement at a number of other clubs around the Elite League, it looks very much like Giants player-coach Walser will stick by the players who have put the team within four points of the top of the table.

That's because he believes that standing by the same roster that started the season is one of the strengths that the Giants have.

The Giants won silverware during Szwez's two previous seasons in Belfast, claiming the Play-off title in 2010 before a landslide Elite League success in 2014.

Not only was the 34-year-old Canadian hugely popular in Belfast, his goalscoring record was also highly impressive as he delivered 36 goals in 41 games during his first spell and 32 in 51 appearances on his return.

"We were aware that Jeffrey Szwez was available and I know that he would bring a lot to the table," said Walser, ahead of tomorrow's trip to Braehead Clan.

"Is he the player who would put us over the top or would he just give us cover and be someone who would fill our line up? I don't know, but he is probably the only player who has come up on our radar that could make us better.

"I think that we are in a good position at the minute and the players are gelling on and off the ice.

"We are playing consistently and we have chemistry in the line-up.

"You don't want to make changes that will affect that and I can't bring someone in when we are still trying to figure out exactly what kind of player we need to improve our team."

Walser, who played an important role on the ice as the Giants beat the Cardiff Devils 2-0 on Wednesday night to move within four points of the Welsh side at the top of the table, isn't in any rush to bring in a new face as he has the luxury of Brandon Benedict still producing the goods.

He was signed as injury cover as well as being handed a job within the Giants organisation, but has played almost every game.

"There is no panic for us to look for a player to bring in because we have the extra body anyway," said Walser.

"That is why he didn't need to get someone when Chris Higgins was out for two months."

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