As I always do at the end of the season, it’s time to look at my predictions from the beginning of the season and see how far off I was. Since the actual award winners won’t be announced until the end of August (?!?!) I obviously can’t include those, but I’ll include who I think should win.
3 correct out of 5. Philly did a little better than I expected and Minnesota did far worse.
0 correct out of 5. Obviously Edmonton was much better than I thought and Vancouver much worse.
Prediction: Garrett Billings. Short list: Cody Jamieson, Mark Matthews
My Choice: Cody Jamieson. On episode 17 of Addicted to Lacrosse, I picked Billings as MVP, but I’m rethinking that decision now. The Rock went 3-0 down the stretch without Billings, so it’s hard to argue that he’s more valuable to the team than anyone else is to their team. That said, nobody stands out as having been head and shoulders above anyone else. I’m going with Jamieson because he’s not only the top scorer on the team and in the league, but because he’s been the face and de facto leader of the Knighthawks since coming into the league.
Goaltender of the Year
Prediction: Matt Vinc. Short list: Tyler Richards, Aaron Bold
My Choice: Aaron Bold. Lowest-ever GAA, 15 wins, 3rd best save % in the league. Made almost 200 fewer saves than Anthony Cosmo, but faced almost 240 fewer shots. That’s how good Edmonton’s defense was this year.
Defensive Player of the Year
Prediction: Kyle Rubisch. Short list: Mike Grimes, Rory Smith
My Choice: Kyle Rubisch. You could also make arguments for Rubisch’s teammates Brett Mydske and Chris Corbeil.
Transition Player of the Year
Prediction: Geoff Snider. Short list: Jesse Gamble, Brad Self
My Choice: Jeremy Thompson. I’ve talked about Thompson many times before. There’s seemingly nothing he can’t do – he can score, play defense, take faceoffs, fight, and run like the wind. And he has a cool tattoo on his back and ponytail and he’s a movie star. You could make an argument for Corbeil here too.
Rookie of the Year
Prediction: Robert Church. Short list: Logan Schuss, Jason Noble, Cody Bremner, Karsen Leung
My Choice: Tough one. Church, Schuss, Tyler Digby, Dillon Ward, and Leung have all had very good rookie seasons, but I think I’m going to go with Schuss with Dillon Ward as a strong #2. Ward gave the Mammoth the reliable goaltender they haven’t had since the Gee Nash days.
Les Bartley (Coach of the Year)
Prediction: Chris Hall. Short list: Troy Cordingley, Derek Keenan
My Choice: Derek Keenan. Half-way through the season I was wondering how to pick between Keenan and Cordingley but the last half of the season made that decision a little easier.
GM of the Year
Prediction: Steve Dietrich. Short list: Doug Locker
My Choice: Derek Keenan, partially because of the players he picked up at the draft (Church, Loewen, Sorichetti all played big roles this year), and partially because of the moves he’s made over the last couple of years. Keenan has turned the worst team in the league to one of the best the league has ever seen.
Just realized that other than MVP, every one of my choices was for Edmonton.
“Watch Out For…”
In each of my team previews, I added a “Watch out for” section for a player that I thought would have a great year. I was even right on a couple.
Rochester: Joe Walters. I said he “could emerge as their #3 scorer”. Ended up as #5 but his 41 points eclipsed his 33 from last year.
Philadelphia: Kevin Crowley. 71 points in his first season, 72 in his second, 75 this year. The Wings don’t really have a team leader, and I though maybe Crowley would make an effort to pick up the unofficial title, like Jamieson has done with the Knighthawks, but he didn’t even lead his team in scoring.
Buffalo: Ryan Benesch. Not one of Benny’s best seasons but not much different from the numbers he was putting up in Minnesota. Of course, you’d expect a 12.5% increase in points since there were 12.5% more games, but that didn’t seem to be true for most players.
Toronto: Kyle Belton. Sort of right. He had a good season and was traded for Brandon Miller.
Minnesota: Kiel Matisz. Totally missed this one. Matisz fell from 63 points in his rookie season to only 36 in 2014. Goals dropped by 7 but assists dropped by 20. Maybe he was used more as a transition guy than offense and so his numbers dropped, or maybe it was just that the Swarm couldn’t score so there were fewer assists to be had.
Edmonton: Curtis Knight. Nailed this one. Jumped from 46 to 72 points, second on the Rush and there were a number of times that I felt he was more the quarterback of their offense than Matthews was.
Colorado: Sean Pollock. 51 points, exactly the same as last year. Not a superstar but definitely one of the important parts of the Mammoth offense.
Calgary: Curtis Dickson. He had 3.88 points per game last year, and bumped that to an even 4. Nominal increase but not the big jump I thought we might see. Still a pure goal-scorer; Dickson has never had more assists than goals in a season.
Vancouver: Lewis Ratcliff. Yeah, not so much. After a mid-season benching, Ratcliff came back with a vengeance, picking up 6 and 8 points in his next two games. But then he averaged just over 2 points over the last 5. His 55 points were the lowest of his career since his debut season with the Roughnecks in 2003.