2013 Preview: Calgary Roughnecks

RoughnecksThe Roughnecks will have almost exactly the same team team in 2013 as they had in 2012, when they led the league during the regular season but flamed out (Ha! Calgary joke) in the playoffs. One of the few changes they did make was to fire head coach Dave Pym after three successful regular seasons (finishing second in the West once and first twice) but a total of one playoff win. Pym is now a western scout for the Rock (although strangely, has retained his “RiggerCoach” twitter handle); obviously the Philadelphia Wings missed my article saying that he’d be a good fit there. At least this way, Pym didn’t have to move from Alberta.

So Curt Malawsky will shuffle down the bench to become the head coach of the Roughnecks after being an assistant coach (under Pym) for three years. Malawsky ran the offense and will likely continue that role, while former Roughneck Bruce Codd, who played for the Rock last year, has retired to become the defensive coach.

Roster changes

On the floor, the biggest changes are the addition of Aaron Pascas from the Rock, the departure of Cory Conway to the Rush, and the retirement of veteran Kaleb Toth. Toth scored 50 or more points in nine of the previous ten seasons, and only missed seven games (playing 179) in his entire career before 2012. But he was frustrated by injuries last year and picked up only 8 points in 7 games. Toth is well-respected throughout the league, particularly in Calgary, but will always be remembered by Rock fans as the kid who scored The Goal, the last goal ever scored at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Pascas only has one year under his belt, while Conway has played 5 seasons, averaging twice the points per game that Pascas picked up back in 2011, so this is a bit of a drop in production. But if any team can handle a bit of a production drop it’s Calgary – only the Mammoth outscored Calgary last season, and they only outscored them by one.

Burning question

Was Dave Pym the problem? Or will the Roughnecks continue their ongoing San Jose Sharks impression of kicking butt in the regular season and underachieving in the playoffs?

Prediction

The current NLL record for most consecutive seasons with 10+ wins is held by both Toronto and Buffalo with five. 2012 was Calgary’s fourth in a row, and I don’t see any reason why they can’t tie the record in 2013. Their offense is outstanding, defense is great, and Mike Poulin is the reigning goalie of the year. First in the west.

Haiku

Dave Pym, Kaleb Toth
Both gone, but no one can get
Through the Poulin Wall

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