2015 preview: East division

As I did with the West, a brief look at each Eastern Division team, how they’ve changed from last year, how I think they’ll do this year, one player that will have a breakout year and a haiku.


Bandits  Buffalo Bandits

 

Roster Changes

Veterans Shawn Williams, Glen Bryan, Rory Smith and Aaron Wilson are out, while Alex Kedoh Hill returns to the NLL, Nick Weiss comes east from the Stealth, and Jerome Thompson makes his NLL debut.

Look out for

Dhane Smith. After playing mostly defense and transition last season, The Great Dhane still put up 59 points. This year, he’s listed as a forward so we might see some big numbers from this big guy in 2015.

Prediction

Second in east.

Haiku

Another Thompson
joins Benny, Steenhuis, JT
Defense looks solid


Swarm  Minnesota Swarm

 

Roster Changes

Lots. Scott Jones, Mike Hobbins, and Cam Flint were released, Josh Gillam is injured, Jeff Gilbert was signed by the Rock, Tyler Carlson, Tyler Hass, and Brock Sorensen were traded, and the most painful for Swarm fans is that Rookie of the Year Logan Schuss will not be playing in 2015 due to work commitments. Veteran defender Mike Grimes was also acquired in the off-season but will also be missing the season because of work. But in their place are some familiar names and one exceptional rookie. Dean Hill returns to where he started his NLL career back in 2006, NLL vets Nick Cotter and Mitch Belisle also return to the league, Brodie MacDonald will fight Zach Higgins for the starting goalie role, Ethan O’Connor will bring his transition talents to South Beach Minnesota, and Miles Thompson rounds out the trio of Thompson brothers in the NLL this year (and look for that to expand again next season).

Look out for

I’m really looking forward to watching Miles Thompson light up the NLL.

Prediction

Fourth in east.

Haiku

Miles Thompson is here!
Hill, Cotter, Belisle too, but
Logan Schuss can’t play


BlackWolves  New England Black Wolves

 

Roster Changes

Way lots. I have twelve people who weren’t on the 2014 Wings roster that are on this one. There are some familiar names there, like Brett Bucktooth, Kevin Buchanan, Jesse Fehr, Ryan Hotaling, and Jamie Lincoln, but also some newcomers like Bill O’Brien and Quinn Powless (Johnny’s cousin). Ryan Ward and Tracey Kelusky retired, Brodie Merrill and Jordan Hall were traded, and Garrett Thul will be spending the season as a member of the US Army.

Look out for

I’ve always liked Kevin Buchanan, back when he was with the Blazers and then the Bandits. He has a laser of a shot and doesn’t need to be in close to be dangerous.

Prediction

Fifth in east.

Haiku

Not the Philly Wings
Playing in a casino
Lots of new faces


Knighthawks  Rochester Knighthawks

 

 

Roster Changes

Johnny Powless is out but Jordan Hall and Aaron Wilson are in, as is Chris Attwood. Attwood is making his NLL debut but was the CLax scoring leader and Most Outstanding Player in 2012. Stephen Keogh is also out to start the season but I don’t know how long he will be unavailable.

Look out for

Chris Attwood. His strong play in CLax earned him the spot on the Knighthawks roster, but now he needs to show that he belongs in the NLL. I think he’ll make up most of the 50-odd points that Johnny Powless would have contributed.

Prediction

First in east.

Haiku

The champs yet again
No Powless but Hall is back
First is theirs to lose


Rock  Toronto Rock

 

Roster Changes

Obviously the loss of both Colin Doyle and Garrett Billings is devastating, but at least they’ll get Billings back in February or March. Kevin Ross should see more playing time, and the Rock have also picked up Brett Hickey from Vancouver and rookie Brandon Benn also made the team. The defense is much bigger, with Brodie Merrill, Brock Sorensen, and Jeff Gilbert replacing Bill Greer, Ethan O’Connor, and Jimmy Purves. Defense was a problem for the Rock last year so this should be a big improvement.

Just like Vancouver with Chris Hall, Edmonton with Derek Keenan, and most of the league (particularly the Bandits) with Tucker Williams, the Rock will be playing for Terry Sanderson.

Look out for

Brock Sorensen. He’s already a big tough defender but now rather than being on a young team with only a couple of veterans (Jeff Gilbert, now a Rock teammate,  was the only Swarm player over 30 last year and didn’t turn 31 until the end of the season), he gets to learn from some of the best of the vets in Sandy Chapman, Brodie Merrill, and Patrick Merrill.

Prediction

Third in east.

Haiku

Much bigger defense
Brodie plays with his brother
Captain Doyle is out

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One thought on “2015 preview: East division

  1. Pingback: 2015 Predictions revisited | NLL Chatter

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