AARON Nell has completed his 2019-20 Swindon Wildcats roster by confirming the capture of Toms Rutkis, who has re-signed on a two-way deal with Elite League giants Cardiff Devils.

Rutkis has established himself as a Link Centre regular in recent seasons – having skated for the Wildcats’ senior team since 2014.

The 21-year-old’s latest two-way deal could be Rutkis’ final step in his ladder to becoming a full-time Elite League player.

The left-shooter has made 63 appearances for the Devils in British hockey’s highest tier in the last two seasons.

And Nell sees great potential in the Riga-born player’s ability.

He said: “Toms is in a great situation – he can train and sometimes play with the top team in the country while playing important minutes for us.

“He’s a great person that people like, and hopefully he can be strong for us this year.

“Toms has come on an awful lot in the last two years, and they’re really good in Cardiff with how they treat him.

“He’s on the ice a lot in the summer – and this year will be a big year for him in his quest to try and make an even bigger jump.

“Hopefully this time next year he can be a full-time Elite League player.”

Wildcats’ competitive campaign starts on Saturday, September 21, when London Raiders visit the Link Centre in the National League.

Before then, Nell’s troops have pre-season double headers against Basingstoke Bison and Telford Tigers to complete.

Players have returned to the ice in the last two weeks, though full training won’t start until the end of the month.

But Toms finds himself a step ahead of his Wiltshire teammates having spent the summer training with Cardiff on a full-time basis.

And confirming an extension to his Swindon contract was nothing more than a formality for Nell.

He added: “We knew what was going to happen with Toms, it was a case of getting it all sorted.

“I always had Toms pencilled in, it was just a case of finalising everything. He brings something a little different to everyone else.

“Toms will be fitter than anyone, he’s been on the ice full-time with Cardiff. Players have a responsibility to stay in good shape and be ready for the new season.”