2016 Preview: West division

A short summary of each team’s offseason moves, where I think they will end up in the standings, who might have a breakout year, and as always, a haiku for each team. I covered the East yesterday, today it’s the West.

RoughnecksCalgary Roughnecks

Roster Changes

Lost Evans, McBride, Pollock, Snider, Moleski, and Veltman and replaced them with Tyler Digby, a bunch of rookies, and a third goaltender. And they only have one person on their practice roster. If the rooks step up big, they could be OK but given their struggles last season with those big-name guys, this could be a scary season for the Roughnecks.

Then again, a few years ago the Roughnecks lost both Tracey Kelusky and Josh Sanderson in the off season and replaced them with Daryl Veltman and a rookie named Curtis Dickson. Everyone thought it would be a disaster but they went on to win the West with the best record in the league.

Look out for

Wes Berg. My pick for ROY. You can’t replace Shawn Evans, but Berg will certainly give it a shot.

Prediction

Fourth in the west.

Haiku

Tyler Digby’s here
Two Carnegies, two Harnetts
Only one de Snoo


MammothColorado Mammoth

Roster Changes

The Mammoth are down Drew Westervelt and Alex Turner (91 points) but Callum Crawford (on pace for 80 last year) should make up for most of that. They also have Ilija Gajic returning; ironically they signed him as a free agent right after cutting Bob Snider, the guy they traded Gajic for. They also released Dan Ball and Ian Hawksbee and lost Cam Flint and Tyler Codron to injury. John Gallant, the only remaining original Mammoth, didn’t play much last season so his retirement won’t have a huge impact. They did sign Greg Downing from the Swarm and added a group of rookies.

Look out for

Ilija Gajic. He and Joey Cupido will make a pretty awesome transition team.

Prediction

Third in the west

Haiku

No more Westervelt
But added Callum Crawford
And Ilija is back


RushSaskatchewan Rush

Roster Changes

Same team as last year, plus Curtis Knight. The west is theirs to lose. Not much more to say than that.

Look out for

Ben McIntosh was third on the team in scoring last year but I can see him leaping over Robert Church into second. Not sure he’ll surpass Mark Matthews though.

Prediction

First in the west

Haiku

Curtis Knight is back
Great O, great D, best goalie
Can the Rush repeat?


StealthVancouver Stealth

Roster Changes

Lost Digby but added Billings. Added Beers, Moleski, Cornwall, and Hawksbee. Lost Hass and Rory Smith but only temporarily. So far, the most improved team in the league. But they also lost Tyler Richards. Eric Penney has played 346 minutes in his career with a GAA of almost 15. Chris Levis hasn’t played an NLL game since January 25, 2013 – almost three years. If the goaltending doesn’t pan out, they may need to score 16 goals a game to have any chance of success.

The Stealth had 5 guys named Tyler on their team last season, but they’re starting 2016 with only one. Can they survive?

Look out for

Garrett Billings. Hardly an out-on-a-limb prediction, but 2015 was very un-Billings-like. With extra recovery and practice time plus playing in his home town with Duch, Schuss, Small, and McCready I think Billings will be back to his Toronto Rock level of dominance.

Prediction

Second in the west.

Haiku

Billings has come home
Stealth have rebuilt the defense
But Richards is gone

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