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Wheelin’ and Dealin’: A pre-season guide to the NLL

0 - Published November 27, 2013 by in National Lacrosse League, Pro Lacrosse

Photo Credit: Larry Palumbo

I’ve spent some serious time digging through the transactions lists posted on the NLL’s website. I’ve got them all broken down by team and what they did since right before the draft. Some teams are going to look a lot different, while others made small changes with hopes of improving what they already had.

BUFFALO BANDITS (6-10 overall, 4-6 division, 171 gf, 211 ga)

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The Bandits had a really hard time last year keeping the ball out of their net and getting it in to the opponents. Tied for the worst goals against, you can bet that a move for Rory Smith will help boost the defense while the signings of Ryan Benesch, Mitch Jones and Nick Diachenko could help solve the scoring problem. I expect them to get it together this year if the defense starts clicking, hopefully making a playoff appearance.

Protected: Mitch Jones and Alex Kedoh Hill

Signed:

1 year: John Tavares, Mike Hominuck, Jay Thorimbert, Jamie Rooney, Derek Hopcroft, Nick Diachenko, Kurtis Wagar, Jordan Critch, Joel Matthews, Mitch Wilde, David Brock, Colin Boucher, Hayden Smith, Kevin Pym, Kevin Brownell, Eric Penney, Steve Fryer, Shawn Williams, Anthony Cosmo, Chad Culp, Dhane Smith, Rory Smith, Mike McNamara, Steve Priolo, Joe Resetarits, Dylan Goddard, Andrew Watt and Jay Thorimbert

2 year: David Brock, Ryan Benesch, Derek Suddons and Colin Boucher

3 year: Aaron Wilson

Active: Chad Culp and Jamie Rooney

Released: Nick Cotter, Sean Greenhalgh, Kevin Dostie, Scott Stewart, Cody Stringer, Brian Myers, Chad Squire, Tony Sorci, Eryn Jones, Matt Brown and Matt Friedman

Retired: Jon Harasym

Traded: Luke Wiles, Carter Bender, 10th, 18th and 20th round in 2013 draft, 2nd and 6th round in 2014, 1st, 2nd and 5th round for 2015, 1st round in 2016, and 3rd round in 2017

Traded for: Joe Resatarits, Ryan Benesch, Andrew Watt, Mitch Jones, Rory Smith, 15th and 53rd selection in 2013, two 2nd rounds in 2014, 4th round in 2015

CALGARY ROUGHNECKS (9-7 overall, 8-4 division, 222 gf, 211 ga)

Coming off of a pretty good season and sitting first in the West, it was unfortunate and a bit unexpected that the Roughnecks lost to the Stealth in the second round last year, by only one goal. They didn’t do a ton of rebuilding, although they were tied for first in goals against, it wasn’t a problem because they also lead the league in goals for. They drafted good ball handlers, hopefully they can get the defense on the same page and post better goals against numbers. If they do, don’t be surprised to see them make a run for the cup.

Signed:

1 year: Darren Kinnear, Barclay Hickey, Curtis Manning, Frankie Scigliano, Karsen Leung, Dane Dobbie, Garrett MacIntosh, Jake Hayes Cody Hawkins, Daryl Veltman, Colin Hall, Peter McFetridge, Tor Reinholdt, Cam Copland, Brett Baron, Pete Dubenski, and Travis Cornwall

2 year: Shawn Evans, Dan MacRae and Jon Harnett

3 year: Greg Harnett, Jeff Shattler, Shawn Evans and Matthew Dinsdale

Released: Aaron Pascas, Sam Kowalyk, Ryan Haynes, Keith Cromwell, Mike Kilby, Kevin Leveille, Rob Smith, Shawn Cable, Brian Spallina, Jordan Guindon, Rob Kirkby, Alex Jones, Brock Armour, Ryan McNish, and Rob Van Beek.

Inactive: Brendan Ranford

Retired: Nolan Heavenor

Traded: Jackson Decker, Joe Resatarits, 15th overall in 2013

Traded for: 10th selection in 2013, 2nd round in 2014, 2nd round in 2015

COLORADO MAMMOTH (7-9 overall, 4-6 division, 185 gf, 202 ga)

NLL HeadWrapz Colorado Mammoth

We can only assume that the Mammoth have started to answer some of their offensive problems by trading for Drew Westervelt and faceoff man Bob Snider. They also signed legend Casey Powell for another year, as well as signing long term contracts with John Grant Jr., Dan Coates, and Adam Jones. Dillon Ward was their first round pick, and the kid has been lights out in net, look for him to really challenge Belanger and Lewis for the starting gig, as HOF goalie coach Dallas Eliuk has been hired to bring new life to the net-minders. Expect much better things from them this season.

Signed:

1 year: Drew Westervelt, Casey Powell, Jarett Park, Dillon Ward, Bob Snider, Ben McCullough, Dan Lewis, Joey Cupido, Cameron Mann, Patrick O’Meara, Carter Bender, Dom Sebastiani, John Orsen, Sean Pollock, John Gallant, Joel Dalgarno, Chet Koneczny, Colton Clark and Cody McMahon

2 year: Creighton Reid, Jamie Lincoln, Jaeden Gastaldo, Jordan McBride, Mat MacLeod, and Jackson Decker

3 year: Cam Holding and Tye Belanger

4 year: John Grant Jr.

5 year: Dan Coates and Adam Jones

Active: Carter Bender and Jaeden Gastaldo

Released: Mac Allen(FA), Mike Law, Tom Ethington, Greg Peyser, Steve Forsythe, Marc Burton, Jim Moss, Sean Morris, Ray Guze, Matt Davenport, Matt Wilson, Derek Malawsky, Gary Bining and Jay Jalbert

Traded: 12th and 18th overall in 2013, 1st and 4th round in 2015, Ryan Hotaling, Ilija Gajic and Rory Smith

Traded for: Drew Westervelt, Bob Snider, Carter Bender, 18th and 32nd in 2013, 2nd round in 2014

EDMONTON RUSH (9-7 overall, 5-6 conference, 203 gf, 170 ga)

With the best ratio between goals for and goals against, on paper the Rush looked great. They went 4-1 out of conference, but lost too many close ones in conference which, unfortunately for them, led them to face NLL runner-up Washington in the first round, by which they also only lost by one goal. They signed a 5 year deal with Mark Matthews, showing a ton of commitment to the All-star, as well as long term deals with Jeremy Thompson, Rubisch, Corbeil and Knight. This won’t be much of a rebuilding year for Edmonton, I expect them to be one of the top teams again this year in the league, as long as they can finish games with W’s.

Signed:

1 year: Jarrett Toll, Simon Giourmetakis, Mike Burke, Adrian Sorichetti, Cory Conway, Riley Loewen, Mike Cudmore, Jon Lafontaine, Mitch Banister, John Lintz, Dane Stevens, Matt Mackenzie, Reid Mydske, Ben Snider, Alex Turner Jeff Cornwall, Dave Marrese and Jesse Fehr

2 year: Brodie MacDonald, Robert Church, Aaron Bold and Zack Greer

3 year: Jeremy Thompson, Kyle Rubisch, Chris Corbeil, Curtis Knight

4 year: Ryan Dilks

5 year: Mark Matthews

Active: Dane Stevens

Released: Buck Stobart, Andrew Turner, Eric Lewthwaite and Corey Small(Unable to perform)

Retired: Jimmy Quinlan

Traded: 4th, 42nd and 52nd overall in 2013 draft, 4th round in 2014 draft

Traded for: Nik Bilic, 5th and 30th overall in 2013, 6th round in 2014

MINNESOTA SWARM (7-9 overall, 4-6 conference, 219 gf, 202 ga)

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Although they will be without All-star Ryan Benesch, the hole on the left should easily be filled by number one overall pick, Logan Schuss. Schuss has been outstanding with the Salmonbellies, as well as his unparalleled contribution to the Ohio Machine of the MLL. The Swarm made a ton of moves in order to have such a dominant draft for 2013, I’m really looking forward to watching Cam Flint, Zac Palmer, Dom Alexander, Jason Noble and Nick Jonas hit the floor this season, as they are all expected to get quality playing time. This could be the year for the Swarm, if any. The opted out of having a rookie camp this year and invited less players to training camp to get the full roster already working together as one, and to help them judge playing time early. I can say that the Swarm had one of the most exciting drafts I’ve ever seen in any pro sport, I can’t wait to see these young guns tear up the carpet.

Signed:

1 year: Dan Ball, Scott Jones, Jordan Houtby, Zach Palmer, Tyler Hass, Brock Sorensen and Greg Downing

2 year: Logan Schuss, Jordan MacIntosh, Shayne Jackson, David Earl, Alex Crepinsek, Josh Gillam, Nick Jonas, Dominique Alexander, Jason Noble, Callum Crawfor, Jeff Gilbert and Cam Flint

3 year: Zach Higgins

5 year: Andrew Suitor

Released: Matt Kelly, Jason Duboe, Sean Robinson, Joe Cinosky, Pat Smith

Traded: 5th in 2013, 6th round in 2014, Nik Bilic, Evan Kirk, Ryan Benesch, Andrew Watt

Traded for: 4th, 30th, 42nd 52nd in 2013 4th round in 2014, 1st round(Wings) of 2015 and 1st round (Wings) of 2017

PHILADELPHIA WINGS (7-9 overall, 5-4 conference, 170 gf, 207 ga)

Philadelphia is also another club not really looking to rebuild this season. It wasn’t a huge offseason for the Wings, although they traded away Westervelt. They didn’t sign any deals over one year because it looks like the pieces should already be in place. I’m looking forward to seeing how the team plays out this season and watching draft picks like Tucker Durkin, A.J. Masson and James Delaney compete for playing minutes. Kevin Crowley, Paul Rabil, Kevin Ross, Joel White and Kyle Hartzell should have no problems getting their team game ready early. Expect consistency from them this season.

Protected: Luke Wiles

Signed:

1 year: Kyle Buchanan, Jordan Hall, Ethan Farrell, Pat Heim, Ryan Hotaling, Tracey Kelusky, Bill McGlone, Kevin Ross, Mike McLellan, Evan Kirk, Aj Masson, Chad Wiedermaier, Eric Hoffman, CJ Costabile, Don Alton, James Delaney and Pat Saunders

Released: Angus Dineley, Matt Alrich, Brandon Francis, Ryan McFadden, and Matt Zash

Traded: Drew Westervelt, 32nd in 2013, 1st round in 2015, 1st round in 2017, two 2nd round in 2014

Traded for: Ryan Hotaling, Evan Kirk, Luke Wiles, 12th and 18th in 2013, 1st round (Mammoth) in 2015

TORONTO ROCK (10-6 overall, 5-4 division, 194 gf, 176 ga)

To me it was shocking that the team with the best overall record in the league last season would get crushed by the Swarm, 20-11, in the first round of the playoffs. Toronto seemed to have it together, but the wheels fell off late in the year. Few trades were made this offseason, but their draft choices seem well calculated. I expect Eric Law to make a good transition to the box game and Mike Woods to get good minutes early, and it will be exciting to see the MSL Rookie of the Year, Ethan O’Connor make the jump to the NLL. I think they know what they need to do for 2014 to last through the season.

Signed:

1 year: Michael Lum-Walker, Bill Greer, Josh Sanderson, Chris White, Cam Woods, Rob Marshall, Damon Edwards, Scott Johnson, Scott Evans, Mike Hobbins, Stephen Hoar, Dustin Dunn, Craig Wende, Jeff Swift, Eric Pitre, Eric Law, Craig England, Mike Woods, Brendan Thenhaus, Bradley Kri, Ethan O’Connor,Alex Lubczuk, and Rob Hellyer

2 year: Jesse Gamble, Sandy Chapman and Pat Merrill

3 year: Stephan Leblanc, Nick Rose, Kasey Beirnes and Colin Doyle

Retired: Blaine Manning

Traded: 53rd overall in 2013

Traded for: 6th round in 2014(Buffalo)

ROCHESTER KNIGHTHAWKS (8-8 overall, 5-5 division, 179 gf, 165 ga)

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I almost forgot Rochester attended the NLL draft, they didn’t select until 27 overall. They also didn’t make any trades the past few months, locking in their championship winning roster for another season. The did reward Matt Vinc for an incredible season in net with a 5 year contract, as well as locking in Self, Dawson, Evans and Vitarelli with multi-year contracts. I don’t only expect them to make another run for the cup again this season,

Signed:

1 year: Wenster Green, Rory Glaves, Mike Accursi, Cody McLeod, Matt Hummel, Zac Reid, Taylor Northway, Mark White, Joel McCready, Mac Allen, Jon Sullivan, Mike Cregan, Brandon Styres, Tom Johnson and Ian Duffy

2 year: Ian Llord, James Purves and Angus Goodleaf

3 year: Dylan Evans and Cory Vitarelli

4 year: Brad Self and Paul Dawson

5 year: Matt Vinc

7 years: Dan Dawson, Craig Point and Sid Smith

Active: Jon Sullivan

Retired: Tony Bonterre and Marshall Abramas

Released: Michael Evans, Jack Reid, Bobby Horset]y and Jamison Koesterer

VANCOUVER STEALTH (9-7 overall, 6-5 division, 193 gf, 192 ga)

After making the move across the boarder to the box lacrosse hot bed that is British Columbia, I expect new life out of the Stealth, and I’ve been really excited to follow the buzz about BC having a NLL team. We should see Digby, O’Connor and Weiss all making an impact right away, while the addition of Ilija Gajic should bring some heat to the transition game, since he didn’t seem to be utilized in Colorado. The Stealth seem to be a bit of a younger team than last season and signed a ton of one year deals. I’d like to see the defense come together to keep the pressure off of Tyler Richards. I expect Rhys Duch to get it done again this year and for Ratcliff to find the back of the net more, hopefully the excitement in Vancouver and boost the morale of the club house and lead to another winning season.

Signed:

1 year: Brett Bucktooth, Dean Hill, Chris O’Dougherty, Chris Hogsden, Matt Roik, Matt Beers, Scott Rouse, Neil Tyacke, Alex Gajic, Brett Hickey, Tyler Garrison, Aaron Pascas, Jamie Shewchuk, Matt Flindell, Mike Mallory, Sean Lundstrom, Brandon Smith, Richard Lachlan, Neil Arbogast, Jeff Moleski, Mitch McMichael, Nick Weiss, Tyler Digby, Josh Hawkins, Cody Bremmer, Brett Dobray, Blair Goss, Bill Hostrawser, Kevin Neufeld, Justin Pychel, Brendan Rouse, Chris Wardel, Rhys Duch, Athan Iannucci and Mike Grimes

2 year: Cliff Smith, Illija Gajic, Lewis Ratcliff and Kyle Sorensen

3 year: Tyler Richards

Inactive: Justin Salt(Physically unable to perform), Mitch McMichael(Physically unable to perform) and Tim Henderson(Hold out list)

Released: Kyle Buchanan and Chris McElroy

Traded: Mitch Jones and Bob Snider

Traded for: Ilija Gajic 20th in 2013, 5th round 2015

Note

This is all I’ve got, as of November 27th. I’m sure a ton more will happen before the last week of December. I look forward to covering the NLL for you this season and updating this list as time goes on. To keep up on what’s going on, start following each team’s Instagram account, they have been posting a ton of video and pictures for the camps.

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