Just nine days after the NLL and the NLLPA agreed to a deal that will allow the 2013 season to go forward with the same CBA as 2012, there have been all kinds of moves involving every team in the league. The Bandits named Steve Dietrich their new GM, the Stealth re-signed head coach Chris Hall and signed a five-year lease with Comcast Arena, the Roughnecks and Mammoth announced a pre-season game in Langley BC, the Rush re-signed GM and coach Derek Keenan, and there were no less than five trades involving seven teams in only two days.
The first trade was the Rock sending holdout Aaron Pascas to the Roughnecks for a third round draft pick. This is one of those deals that looks worse than it is – in an ideal world, Pascas is worth more than a 3rd round pick. But he’s a BC boy who has already missed an entire season due to work commitments, and so perhaps the Rock decided that getting a pick was better than the nothing they may get if he can’t play in 2013 either. The Roughnecks get a scorer for the left side who is young and yet has won a Championship. If Pascas has scheduling issues with his job as a firefighter, it’s more likely that he’ll be able to make games in Calgary than in Toronto, so it’s a good deal for him as well.
A few hours after the Pascas deal, the Swarm sent forward Kevin Ross to Philadelphia for a first round pick way off in 2015. Swarm owner John Arlotta said that Ross will “get the chance to play closer to home”. Home for Ross is London Ontario, which is nine hours from Philadelphia and fourteen from St. Paul. (Note that I am Canadian, and in Canada we measure distances not in miles or kilometres, but in driving time.) Cutting down your commute from 14 hours to 9 is not much of an advantage, really. Perhaps the flights from southern Ontario to Philly are shorter than to Minnesota, though I can’t imagine it’s much of a difference there either. Anyway, Philly is pretty happy with the trade, especially when you consider that Ross scored 9 points against them in one game and 5 in another last season. Swarm fans were less thrilled since they lose Ross’s 59 points and get nothing in return for over three years.
A day later, three trades rocked the NLL, as the Edmonton Rush finally made the trade that everyone has been waiting for since February, sending Paul Rabil to Rochester for Jarrett Davis. The Rush finally have something to show for Brodie Merrill – but the whole Merrill / Iannucci / Rabil drama has been done to death so I won’t give all the details again. Davis is a very good player even if he’s no Merrill or Rabil, so at first blush it would seem that the Knighthawks clearly win this trade. Adding someone of Rabil’s calibre makes the reigning Champions a far better team, and that’s not something that Rock, Bandits, or Wings fans want to hear. But then again, Davis may actually put on a Rush uniform at some point, which is more than Rabil ever did, so the Rush are up one transition player and down nothing. This is a pretty good deal for both teams.
Well, in that trade they’re down nothing. Associate captain Shawn Williams will not be returning to the Rush, so they are down a scorer as well. The Rush traded Williams, who was a few days away from becoming an unrestricted free agent, to the Minnesota Swarm for draft picks. But Williams’s career as a member of the Swarm was just as long in terms of games played as that of Anthony Cosmo or Josh Sanderson, as he was immediately shuffled off to Buffalo along with Brendan Doran and more draft picks for Buffalo’s first round pick this year. The Swarm now have the #2, #3, and #4 picks in this year’s entry draft. The Bandits pick up Doran, a “young gritty defenseman” says Steve Dietrich, as well as the veteran Williams. Willy is fresh off a season in which he reached the finals, scored his 1,000th NLL point, and set an NLL record for most consecutive games played (190+ and counting). The move reunites the 38-year-old Williams with 43-year-old John Tavares, who played together in Buffalo in 2000 and 2001, and gives the Bandits another legitimate scoring threat. I wouldn’t say the move immediately propels the Bandits into first place in my 2013 NLL East division rankings, but it certainly raises some eyebrows for anyone looking at how the Bandits might recover from the 2012 season, which was
terrible disastrous horrific less successful than they might have liked.
So all of those trades happened in just two days. The 2013 NLL season doesn’t start for over five months. It could be a busy summer.