Trades revisited: an exercise in hindsight

There was a conversation on the IL Indoor message boards recently about Chris Corbeil and how he was traded to the Rush from the Buffalo Bandits. A Bandits fan was unhappy that Corbeil is now the captain of the reigning champs, while the Bandits got draft picks in return. I looked it up and found that the Bandits didn’t get quite as screwed as it might seem. That was fun so I thought I’d look up a few other trades from a few years ago. Now that we know which players played well, which were busts, and which players were drafted with the picks that were exchanged, we can see how they ended up working out.

I just randomly picked a bunch of trades that involved draft picks. This was not planned, but all but one of these trades involved the Edmonton Rush.

Chris Corbeil for picks

September 9, 2011: The Bandits sent Chris Corbeil to the Rush for a 2nd round pick in 2011 and a 1st round pick in 2012.

Chris Corbeil, hopefully in MovemberFour years after this trade, Corbeil is one of the premiere defenders in the league and as stated above, the captain of the defending champions. Did the Bandits get fleeced? Not at all, as it turned out. The second round pick in 2011 turned out to be Jeremy Thompson, but the Bandits traded the first round pick (3rd overall) to Minnesota who used it to draft Kiel Matisz. In return, the Bandits got Brendan Doran, Shawn Williams, the 5th overall pick, and two later picks. The Bandits drafted Dhane Smith and Carter Bender and traded the other pick to the Rock for Glen Bryan and Jamie Rooney. Doran never played for the Bandits and Bender scored 3 points in 3 games. But Bryan, Rooney, and Williams each played two seasons in Buffalo and Dhane Smith is one of the Bandits top offensive weapons.

Thompson played in 14 games for the Bandits in 2012, scored 9 points, won 46% of 140 face-offs, and was traded to the Rush a year later (see below).

Winner: Corbeil vs. Dhane Smith, two years of Williams, Bryan, and Rooney plus a year of Jeremy Thompson? Calling it for Buffalo.

Jeff Cornwall for picks

February 10, 2012: The Bandits sent Jeff Cornwall to the Rush for a 2nd round pick in 2012 and a 2nd round pick in 2014.

The second round pick that the Bandits got in 2012 was Jordan Critch, who scored five points in five games in 2013 and hasn’t played in the NLL since. The 2014 pick got complicated. In July 2013, the Bandits traded that pick, a second round pick in 2013, and Carter Bender to Colorado for Rory Smith and a 4th rounder in 2015 (Tim Edwards). Colorado ended up trading the pick to Calgary for Jackson Decker, and Calgary drafted Tyson Roe.

The end result for the Bandits: they gave up Jeff Cornwall for 5 games from Critch, a season of Rory Smith, and Tim Edwards. Rory Smith was later sent to the Stealth along with Eric Penney for Nick Weiss and even more draft picks, but that’s as far as I think I want to go with this one.

Winner: Hard to determine since the picks got pretty complicated but I’d go with Edmonton.

Anthony Cosmo for picks

February 16, 2012: The Swarm sent Anthony Cosmo to the Bandits for 1st round picks in 2013 and 2014.

Anthony Cosmo was picked up by the Swarm in the Boston Blazers dispersal draft despite the fact that he told them he wouldn’t play for them. He was true to his word and didn’t play, but they held onto him for part of the 2012 season until the Bandits came calling. The Swarm love those first round draft picks and Buffalo offered some, so Cosmo was sent east. In 2013, their pick from Buffalo turned into the first overall pick, which became Logan Schuss. In 2014, it was #5, Shane MacDonald. Schuss scored 104 points for the Swarm in a year and a half before being traded to Vancouver for Johnny Powless, while MacDonald scored 13 points in 11 games last season and has since been traded to New England for Drew Petkoff.

Winner: Cosmo vs. Schuss + Powless. Another tough call but I have to give this one to the Bandits.

Cousins for Williams

July 25, 2011: The Rush sent Ryan Cousins, Andy Secore, and Alex Kedoh Hill to Rochester for Shawn Williams, Aaron Bold, and a 2nd round pick in 2012.

Shawn WilliamsThe second round pick that the Rush received was traded to the Stealth along with Athan Iannucci for Paul Rabil and a first rounder. The Stealth drafted Justin Pychel with that pick, while the Rush picked Mark Matthews. The Rush later traded Rabil to the Knighthawks for Jarrett Davis. The Knighthawks sent Rabil (and others including Jordan Hall) to the Wings for Paul and Dan Dawson.

Cousins played 10 games for the Knighthawks before retiring. Secore never played again, while Hill played 5 games with the Knighthawks before being sent to the Bandits. Shawn Williams played one season in Edmonton before being sent to Buffalo via Minnesota. Aaron Bold, I believe, is still with the Rush.

Winner: From this trade, the Rush ended up with Aaron Bold and a season of Shawn Williams. Add in the Iannucci deal (below) and the draft pick turned into Mark Matthews. I’d call Edmonton the clear winners here.

Thompson for Wilson

November 14, 2012: The Bandits just love sending players to the Rush. This time, it’s Jeremy Thompson for Aaron Wilson and a 2nd round pick in 2013.

The second round pick was Nick Diachenko, who never played for the Bandits but was picked up as a free agent by the Rock. Thompson is one of the best transition players in the game. Aaron Wilson scored 59 points in a year and a half with the Bandits before being sent to the Knighthawks. He only played 4 games last year and retired in the off-season.

Winner: Rush again but the Bandits did OK here.

Merrill for Nooch

August 9, 2011: The Rush sent Brodie Merrill, Mike McLellan, Dean Hill, the 41st overall pick in 2011, and a 4th round in 2013 to the Wings for Athan Iannucci, Alex Turner, Brodie MacDonald, and 1st round picks in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Athan Iannucci

This was one of the biggest blockbuster trades of the last decade. Merrill had already been named Defender of the Year once and Transition Player of the Year twice, while Iannucci set the single-season goal-scoring record. Not only does his record of 71 still stand, only four people have come within 20 goals of that number in the 7 seasons since.

The picks involved: The 2011 pick ended up in Buffalo (not sure how it got there), who drafted Dwight Bero. The Wings got goalie Don Alton in 2013. Edmonton’s 2012 first rounder went to Buffalo (for Chris Corbeil – see above) and then Minnesota (for the Dhane Smith pick and Shawn Williams – see above) who turned it into Kiel Matisz. The 2013 first rounder was Robert Church. The 2014 pick was sent to the Swarm with Brodie MacDonald for Tyler Carlson, the first overall pick in 2014 (Ben McIntosh) and a second-rounder in 2015 (Dan Taylor).

Merrill had three very good seasons with the Wings before being traded to the Rock. McLellan scored 7 points in 11 games with the Wings in 2013 and hasn’t played in the NLL since. Dean Hill never played with the Wings, but played 40+ games with the Stealth, Mammoth, and Swarm before retiring this past off-season. Alton played one minute in one game, got scored on, and retired with a career GAA of 60.00.

Edmonton’s picks turned into Corbeil, Church, and Tyler Carlson, all of whom are still on the Rush. Alex Turner scored 25 points in two seasons before being traded to the Swarm for a draft pick (later traded to Calgary for Matthew Dinsdale). After scoring 71 in 2008, Nooch never again got within forty goals of that record. He blew out his knee after the 2008 season and hasn’t been the same player since, never scoring more than 29 goals in any season. He refused to report to the Rush and was traded to the Stealth for Paul Rabil and a first rounder, which turned into Mark Matthews.

Winner: Edmonton by a landslide.


The end result from all this analysis: Derek Keenan (who was the Edmonton GM for all of these deals) is pretty good at his job.

Shoutout to John Hoffman (@Corporal763) for his awesome site swarmitup.com, which contains unbelievable detail about every NLL draft.

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5 things you never knew about the NLL! #3 will shock you

I originally started this article as a joke, playing on the popularity of sites like Buzzfeed and their click-baity “you won’t believe what happened next”-type headlines. But then I wondered if I could come up with 5 actual things that many NLL fans didn’t know and I hadn’t used on @NLLFactOfTheDay (and that I don’t have to fit into 140 characters). Many people know that John Tavares the (former) lacrosse player is the uncle of John Tavares the hockey player. Many know that Josh Sanderson played for his father Terry (four times, actually: Rochester, Calgary, and Toronto twice). Many know that there are far more failed NLL teams than there are current teams.

But did you know these?

1. Before they secured nll.com, the league’s website was be-lax.com. (OK, I could have squeezed that one into a tweet.)

Gary Roberts

2. The Calgary Roughnecks once drafted former Calgary Flames star Gary Roberts (after he had retired from hockey). He said he was flattered and surprised, but did not report. The Bandits once drafted Gil Nieuwendyk, Joe’s brother and Derek Keenan’s brother-in-law. He never reported either.

3. The 2007 Championship final was hosted by the Arizona Sting rather than the top seed Rochester Knighthawks because of arena unavailability. A circus had booked the Blue Cross Arena and no alternative arena in Rochester could be found. A 2002 playoff game between the 5th place Washington Power and the 6th place Philadelphia Wings was held in Philadelphia because Washington decided they’d lose more money by hosting it than by travelling.

4. In 2001, the league accidentally posted an article on its web site announcing expansion to Montreal before the deal was actually done. The article was immediately pulled and the deal was put on hold. The Montreal Express joined the league a year later.

5. In 2007, the Arizona Sting went on hiatus and the players were loaned to other teams for a year (through a dispersal draft), the idea being that when Arizona returned the next season, they’d continue with the team they had before. After the 2008 season, the players were returned to the Sting, where the team promptly folded and they were dispersed again.


Did I fool you? One of those five is not true; I made it up. But which one?

The deadliest lacrosse game ever

Since it’s the off-season, there isn’t an awful lot happening in the National Lacrosse League these days. Sure, two teams have moved including the team that won the Championship just a couple of months ago. This would be huge in any other sport but in the NLL, that’s just a little unusual. So here’s a lacrosse story, but it’s not exactly a new one. In fact, it’s over 250 years old.

The state of Michigan is divided into two pieces: the Lower Peninsula (the “mitten”) and the Upper Peninsula. The two meet at the very top of the mitten at the Straits of Mackinac*, where you’ll find the impressive mile-and-a-half long Mackinac Bridge. At the south end of the bridge is the amusingly-named Village of Mackinaw City (population 806) and within that lies Fort Michilimackinac**.

*Note that whether it’s spelled “Mackinac” (like the straits, the bridge, or the island) or “Mackinaw” (like the city), it’s always pronounced MACK-in-aw.
**It looks like a mouthful but it’s not that hard to pronounce: MISH-ill-uh-MACK-in-aw.

Built by the French in the early 1700’s, the Fort was as much a trading post as a military fort. Fur traders would come from as far away as Montreal, and hundreds of Native Americans lived at or near the Fort as well. The French and Indian War (the North American part of the Seven Years’ War) began in 1754, when the French and Natives combined forces to battle the British and Americans. Most of the fighting occurred much further east in New York and Pennsylvania but once the North American part of the war ended in 1761, the French abandoned Fort Michilimackinac and the British took over.

But the British rule didn’t sit well with the local Native population, the Obijwe. Indeed, many Native communities throughout the area were unhappy with the British. (Aside: Even today, they don’t seem to get along, as the British have consistently refused to honour the passports of the Haudenosaunee Nation for lacrosse tournaments in the UK. But that’s another story.) The Natives decided to band together and rise up against their oppressors. This rebellion became known as Pontiac’s War, named after the chief of the Odawa tribe and namesake of both the city of Pontiac, Michigan as well as the GM brand of cars. The way that the Ojibwe chose to rebel was interesting and unique, and here’s where lacrosse enters the picture.

Old school

This picture of some very old lacrosse equipment (including a horsehide ball stuffed with feathers) was taken by me, though not at Fort Michilimackinac. It was actually taken at Fort William in Thunder Bay, Ontario during the summer of 2012.

On June 2, 1763, the Ojibwes held a game of baaga’adowe*, a forerunner to modern (field) lacrosse, in front of Fort Michilimackinac. This is something they’d do from time to time, and it always brought out a crowd of spectators from the Fort. As usual, the soldiers left their weapons inside and the gates of the Fort open while watching the game. On this hot June day, none of the British soldiers thought anything was odd about the fact that all of the Native women, who were also watching the game, were sitting near the gate of the Fort wrapped up in thick blankets.

* – An Ojibwe word meaning “to hit”. Note that Wikipedia‘s translation of “bump hips” is incorrect – that’s the translation of the Onondaga word for lacrosse. Thanks to Ryan Zunner for helping me get this right!

It went on for a while until the ball was thrown through the open gate of the Fort, and at that point the game changed dramatically. As the players ran into the Fort after the ball, the Native women pulled out the guns, knives, and tomahawks they had been hiding under their blankets. The players dropped their sticks and grabbed the weapons. There are lacrosse fights, and then there are lacrosse fights. Geoff Snider and Tim O’Brien had nothing on these guys, and when it was over, most of the British soldiers were dead (though not the French-Canadians who were still there). The Ojibwe took over control of Fort Michilimackinac and held control for a year.

The Ojibwe really had no interest in the Fort itself, they just wanted the British out and they staged the deadliest game of lacrosse ever played to do it. A year later the British reclaimed the Fort with no bloodshed, promising more gifts to the Ojibwe in exchange. They would later combine forces against their common enemy, the brand new United States of America.

"An Indian Ball-Play" by George Catlin


References

Stokes, Keith. (2015) Colonial Fort Michilimackinac. Retrieved from http://www.mightymac.org/michilimackinac.htm

Edwards, Lissa. (2010) Deadly Lacrosse Game in Mackinac Straits at Fort Michilimackinac in 1763. Retrieved from http://mynorth.com/2010/05/deadly-lacrosse-game-in-mackinac-straits-at-fort-michilimackinac-in-1763/

Ojibwa. (2011) Lacrosse at Fort Michilimackinac. Retrieved from http://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/947

Wikipedia. (2015) Fort Michilimackinac. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Michilimackinac

Six degrees of Kevin Buchanan

A recent conversation about how small the lacrosse world is got me thinking, and I came up with a fun game which I call “Six degrees of Kevin Buchanan”.

The idea is to pick two players A and B, and make a chain of players starting from A and ending with B. Every player in the chain must have played on the same team at the same time as the player before and after him. Unlike the Kevin Bacon game, you don’t actually have to include Kevin Buchanan – if that was the case, I might have picked Mat Giles (12 NLL teams) or Chris Panos (10) rather than Buchanan (5). But their names don’t sound nearly as much like “Kevin Bacon”.

I’ve stretched the rules a touch: if two players played for the same team in the same season, I’m calling that a link. This is only because I don’t have sufficiently accurate data so in some cases (anything before 2005) I don’t know if they actually both played on the same team at the same time – for all I know, one might have been traded for the other in a mid-season deal.

As an example, let’s pick the player with the coolest name in NLL history: Mikko Red Arrow, who played with the New York Saints from 1993 to 1996. We’ll try and match him up with one of the youngest players in the league, Rob Hellyer.

Mikko Red Arrow –> Rob Hellyer

  1. Mikko Red Arrow played with Pat O’Toole on the New York Saints in 1995.
  2. O’Toole played with Josh Sanderson on the Knighthawks in 1999.
  3. Sanderson has played with Rob Hellyer on the Rock from 2012-2015.

So Hellyer is three links away from Red Arrow.

Let’s go back even further, to 1992 and another player with a cool name, Butch Marino. I had never heard of him before this exercise, and picked him at random. He played from 1992-1994 and again in 1996. The target this time is another young player picked at random, Miles Thompson of the Swarm.

Butch Marino –> Miles Thompson

  1. Butch Marino played with Chris Gill on the Baltimore Thunder in 1996.
  2. Gill played with Colin Doyle on the Toronto Rock from 1999-2001.
  3. Doyle played with Ethan O’Connor on the Rock in 2014.
  4. O’Connor plays with Miles Thompson on the Swarm in 2015.

Thompson is four links away from Marino. Note that this is the shortest list I found while just looking over team lists and going by memory. There may be shorter ones.

Here’s one more, starting from Brian Lemon, the current NLL VP of Lacrosse Operations. Let’s try and link him to Edmonton goalie Aaron Bold.

Brian Lemon –> Aaron Bold

  1. Brian Lemon played with Kevin Finneran on the 1992 Detroit Turbos.
  2. Finneran played with Dave Stilley on the 2002 Philadelphia Wings.
  3. Stilley played with Gavin Prout on the 2006 Mammoth.
  4. Prout played with Corey Small on the 2010 Rush.
  5. Small played with Aaron Bold on the 2013 Rush.

So Bold is five links away from Lemon. But there’s a faster way:

  1. Brian Lemon played with Randy Mearns on the 1995 Knighthawks.
  2. Mearns played with John Tavares on the 1993 Bandits.
  3. Tavares played with Jeremy Thompson on the 2012 Bandits.
  4. Thompson has played with Aaron Bold on the Rush since 2013.

Of course, anyone who’s ever played for the Bandits is at most 2 links away from anyone else who’s ever played for the Bandits, since they both played with John Tavares. In addition to JT, there are players like Shawn Williams, Colin Doyle, and Josh Sanderson who have had very long careers with multiple teams and allow you to jump 10-15 years in one step. Thanks to guys like them, I’d be surprised if anyone who’s ever played in the NLL is more than five links away from anyone else. In fact, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a player who has never played with a former Bandit and given Mr. Tavares’s longevity, I imagine that finding two players with a count no lower than five is almost impossible.

Hey Kevin, what do you think of this game?

Any other pairs of players you want linked? Do you know of shorter chains than the ones I have above? Leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter!

The Wings fly away, Part 2

In Part 1, I looked at how great the Philadelphia Wings were from 1987 until their 2001 Championship. And make no mistake, they were great. Then I asked how a team as successful as the Wings could possibly fold or move.

To answer that, we need to realize that all of the great numbers I mentioned in that article were only for the first half (well, about 57% to be accurate) of the Wings tenure in Philadelphia. To say the rest of their tenure (2002-2014) was less successful would be quite the understatement.

Instead of being 42 games over .500, they were 30 games under at 82-112. They allowed 161 more goals than they scored. In 12 seasons, they made the playoffs three times (losing all three games) and finished over .500 only once. Their last playoff win will forever remain that 2001 Championship, thirteen seasons ago.

Things got so bad for the Wings that even the loyal fans started to abandon them. In the years following their sixth Championship, attendance dropped, rebounded again, and then dropped again. In 2005, it dropped over 14%, falling below 12,000 for the first time since their 1987 debut. 2008 saw a little rebound once again but after that it dropped between 5 and 10% every year. In the last fourteen years of the team’s existence (starting the year before their last Championship), the Wings reported year-over-year attendance increases only three times.

In 2014, their final year in the league, the Wings averaged a paltry 6,864 fans per game. Only the Vancouver Stealth drew fewer. If your attendance is being compared to that of the Stealth (whether Vancouver, Washington, or San Jose), you’re in trouble.

WingsAttendance

It’s not that ownership didn’t try. The Wings had more rebuilds than Joan Rivers’ face. After Marechek, Bergey, and Ratcliffe it was supposed to be Sean Greenhalgh, Athan Iannucci, and Merrick Thomson. But Greenhalgh was sent to Buffalo, concussions ended Thomson’s career early, and Nooch missed almost two entire seasons with injuries. Kyle Wailes scored 50+ points in 2009 and 2010 and never played again. The Dan Dawson experiment got them to the playoffs but no further than the first round before he was off to Rochester. Brodie Merrill has played well since coming to the Wings in 2012 but the price for landing him was steep – Iannucci, Alex Turner, Brodie McDonald, and three first round draft picks, one of which won’t happen until this coming fall.

They tried having a morning game on a Friday. I’m not sure if this was a conscious decision and they were trying to draw school trips (as it was advertised) or if it was required because of arena availability. It ended up as a dismal failure, drawing the lowest crowd (5139) in Wings history. They tried putting the players’ Twitter handles on their uniforms to draw attention. It did, but not from anyone outside of the lacrosse world, or at least not for more than a few seconds.

They tried rebranding themselves as “America’s team”, drafting and signing lots of American-born players. Most of these guys were field players who had played very little or no indoor lacrosse, and this strategy had varying degrees of success. Some guys like Drew Westervelt took to the game and became strong indoor players, while others like Ned Crotty never saw the same level of success indoors that they had seen outdoors. In 2014, this plan was further scuttled by a number of players including Crotty, Paul Rabil, and Brendan Mundorf bailing on the team sitting out the season to prepare for the World Field Championships.

Can we find someone to blame for the failure of the Wings? Ownership? Players? Fans? Is there really so much competition for your entertainment dollar in Philadelphia that the Wings can no longer compete? Well, when you only play 3 playoff games in twelve years (and lose them all), it’s hard to convince people to continue paying money to watch your team (unless you’re the Toronto Maple Leafs, but they’re a huge anomaly in the world of sports). You obviously can’t blame the fans who kept going to games, and considering the lack of on-floor success over the last twelve years, it’s also pretty tough to blame the ones who stopped.

If we must blame someone, I suppose it’ll have to be ownership, since they’re the top of the food chain and therefore ultimately responsible. But playing the blame game really doesn’t buy us anything. It doesn’t bring the Wings back, and it doesn’t make losing them any easier for fans of the league, least of all the Philly fans.

The Philadelphia Wings were the cornerstone of the NLL for half of its existence. They were so good for so long and were as close to being a solid fixture in a city’s sports scene as the NLL has ever seen. It’s unfortunate that we now have to add Philadelphia to the long list of cities in which the NLL ultimately failed.

The Wings fly away, Pt. 1

Wings

The 2015 NLL season will not include the Philadelphia Wings. For longtime fans of the league, this is unfathomable. It’s the NHL without the Leafs or Canadiens. It’s the American League without the Yankees. It’s the NFL without the Packers. After 28 seasons, the franchise is moving, though we don’t yet know where. It’s possible that they’ll find a new home fairly close to their old one but even if they do, it won’t be the same.

Starting in 1987, they were outstanding. In their first sixteen seasons, they missed the playoffs once, finished under .500 only three times, and appeared in nine Championship finals, winning six of them. They won 100 games while only losing 58, and they scored 316 more goals than they allowed. They had future Hall-of-Famers all over the place: Gary and Paul Gait, Tom Marechek, Tony Resch, Dallas Eliuk, and owners Mike French, Russ Cline, and Chris Fritz. In 2001 they won their sixth Championship, the same number (at the time) as the Rock, Bandits, and Knighthawks combined.

The Wings had arguably the most loyal fans in the league. In 1987, the league’s inaugural season, their average attendance was 10,972 when the other three teams in the league had averages under 8,000. Their average attendance increased each of the next four years, and stayed above 13,000 for sixteen straight seasons from 1989 to 2004.

So how is it possible that a team that successful could ever fold or move? We’ll get into that in part 2.

Gavin Prout – the Knighthawk?

Gavin Prout spent two seasons in New York and then six in Colorado, the last five as captain of the Mammoth, averaging 84 points per season. So it was a bit of a shock in Colorado, and throughout the NLL world, when he was traded in 2009 to the Edmonton Rush. He played with the Rush for the 2010 season and about half of 2011 before being traded back to the Mammoth. But something that many people, myself included until recently, don’t remember about Prout being traded from the Mammoth to the Rush was that it never happened.

What could have beenProut, along with Andrew Potter, was traded from the Mammoth to the Rochester Knighthawks in 2009 for Ilija Gajic (some draft picks were involved as well). Potter had been sent to the Mammoth from the Knighthawks the previous year in the deal that brought Gary Gait out of retirement. Interesting that a guy that played all of five games in his NLL career was involved in two such significant trades. Anyway, two weeks later, the Knighthawks sent Prout and Dean Hill to the Rush for a first round draft pick. But the fact that Prout was a Knighthawk for a couple of off-season weeks is usually forgotten.

A number of other players also spend time on teams for which they never played. Here are just a few:

After the Boston Blazers folded, Anthony Cosmo and Josh Sanderson were both selected in the dispersal draft by the Minnesota Swarm. Before the first round of the draft had even ended, Sanderson had been traded to the Rock, while Cosmo sat out half of the next season before being traded to the Bandits.

Shawn Williams is another player who, like Sanderson, can measure the amount of time he spent on the Minnesota roster with a stopwatch. In July 2012, Williams was traded from the Rush to the Swarm for two second-round draft picks. The same day, he was sent off with Brendan Doran as well as the #5 overall pick in the 2012 draft and two other 2012 draft picks to Buffalo for the #3 overall pick. That seems to me like an expensive way to move up two positions – and in fact, it really only moved the Swarm up one position since they went from having picks #2, 4, and 5 to having picks #2, 3, and 4.

Paul Rabil might be the only player to have joined two separate organizations consecutively and never play for either of them. But this story begins six months before Rabil got involved. In the summer of 2011, the Wings traded Athan Iannucci, Alex Turner, Brodie MacDonald, and three first round draft picks to the Rush for Brodie Merrill, Dean Hill, Mike McLellan, and a couple of later draft picks. Nooch never signed with the Rush, and a month into the 2012 season, he was traded to the Stealth for Paul Rabil. Rabil also refused to sign with the Rush and sat out the rest of the 2012 season.

Almost a year after the original Iannucci trade, the Rush sent Rabil to the Knighthawks for Jarrett Davis, but Rabil never reported to Rochester either. Only a couple of weeks before the 2013 season began, he was sent to Philadelphia along with Jordan Hall, Joel White, and Robbie Campbell in exchange for Dan Dawson, Paul Dawson, and a first round draft pick. Rabil is now happy in Philadelphia, and I’m pretty sure the Knighthawks were OK with what they got out of the deal.

But not every player was traded to a team they never played for. Here are some players who were drafted by teams they never played for:

  • Ilija Gajic, Rochester, 2009
  • Joel Dalgarno, Toronto, 2009
  • Craig Point, Boston, 2007
  • Ryan Benesch, San Jose, 2006
  • Blaine Manning, Calgary, 2001
  • Geoff Snider, Vancouver, 2001 (he opted to return to university and was drafted again by the Wings in 2006)
  • Tom Marechek, Buffalo, 1992
  • John Tavares, Detroit, 1991 (and not until the third round!)

I’m sure there are plenty of others. Leave a comment if I missed any!