Drew Paris, a big, imposing defenceman from Quebec, has signed for Cardiff Devils.
The 6ft 4ins former American League player is a powerful team player with a strong work ethic. He is strong in physical battles and along the boards, while he poses an offensive threat with a cannon of a shot.
Devils’ coach Andrew Lord really took notice of his shooting power when watching videos of Paris and believes he can be a major factor on the powerplay this season.
“That shot, wow!” says Lord, who is also impressed with Paris’ skating ability.
“You always wonder how well big guys like Drew can skate, but he is a great skater and highly mobile. You don’t play in Sweden and Germany without being mobile.
“He is a big strong guy that is going to win battles in the corners and in front of the net.”
Paris, 29, has played for Toronto Marlies (AHL) and Chicago Express (East Coast League), while he has also competed for clubs in Germany, Sweden and Austria.
“A big shot is one of my assets and I love to use it,” says Paris. “I play pretty well defensively and love playing physical in the corners. I believe I have a good mix of offence and defence, focus on making good passes and play for the team.”
Cardiff’s Neil Francis first spoke to Paris three years ago, having been put in contact with him by former Devils player Chris Frank.
“Chris is a friend and old team-mate,” says Paris. “Neil and I stayed on contact and we talked again last summer.
“I wanted to stick in Sweden then, but I contacted him again and we found a good fit.
“I had felt playing for Cardiff was something I wanted to do at some stage.
“I’m excited to meet Devils fans, while playing European Champions League hockey will be awesome.”
Paris is from Pointe-Claire, an on-island suburb of Montreal, and started skating when he was five-years-old. He started with Montreal West Island Royals and was drafted to play Quebec Major Junior hockey at the age of 15.
Paris turned professional with Rochester Americans six years later.
He is a player Devils have had their eye on for two years. He has finally agreed terms and will join the defending Elite League Champions for the 2017-18 season.
Paris has spent the past two seasons in the Allsvenskan League in Sweden, last season with MODO Hockey and the previous season with Tingsryds AIF.
During 2015-16 in Tingsryds, he scored 13 goals and 13 assists for 26 points in 47 games. Prior to playing in Sweden he spent 3 years in Germany, two in the top league with Dusseldorf of the DEL.
Paris will be attending University at Cardiff Met this season earning his Master’s degree. He follows the pathway that last season had attending the university in the same programme.
“Our partnership with Cardiff Met made this signing possible,” said Lord, “Drew wants to get his education and knows the success our guys in the MBA programme have had on and off the ice the past few years.”
Devils have now signed three defenceman for next season with Paris joining Mark Richardson and Gleason Fournier. Scottish player Craig Moore, who is coming to Cardiff from Dundee, was a D-man with Stars, but can also play forward.
Andrew Hotham, Scott Hotham, Mark Louis and Josh Batch were the other blue liners, alongside Richardson and Fournier, last season.
Devils will announce a second new signing at 2pm today.