Boise, ID (7/17/18) – Steelheads Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Neil Graham announced on Tuesday that the Idaho Steelheads have agreed to terms with defenseman Eric Sweetman on an ECHL contract for the 2018-19 season.
Sweetman, 24, becomes the first defenseman announced by the Steelheads for 2018-19. The Woodbine, Maryland native totaled ten goals and 27 points in 65 games for the Steelheads last season during his first professional campaign, along with one goal and four points in 11 playoff games.
“I’m really happy to be back,” said Sweetman. “I’m excited to get things rolling in Boise again.”
The 5-foot-11 Sweetman finished the season eighth in scoring among ECHL rookie defensemen, fifth in goals, and tied for second with a plus-22 rating. Sweetman was named the Steelheads’ Defenseman of the Year
“We’re very happy to announce the signing of Eric,” said Graham. “Coming off an AHL contract with Texas, he was an unrestricted free agent and that meant he fielded a lot of calls this off-season.”
The rookie blue-liner saw his numbers surge after the midpoint of December. Sweetman totaled three assists and a minus-1 rating through his first 21 games, but after December 16th he went on to post ten goals and 24 points with a plus-21 rating in 44 games.
“He is an elite two-way puck-moving defenseman who played a significant role in all areas last season,” said Graham. “We expect him to take more strides over the course of his second season.”
Sweetman played four years of NCAA Division I hockey at St. Lawrence University before turning pro, appearing in 146 games from 2013 to 2017 and collecting 16 goals, 64 points, and a plus-39 rating. He was named to the ECAC’s Second All-Star team in 2014-15 and 2015-16, and he served as an assistant captain in each of his final two seasons at St. Lawrence.
Sweetman becomes the fifth player from last season to return to Idaho for the 2018-19 season.