NLL Trades: one big, two bigger

After the huge trades we saw at the trade deadline last year involving names like Billings, Suitor, Powless, and Schuss, you’d think the NLL might be all blockbuster’ed out for a while. It lasted about half a year before we started seeing some more “holy crap” trades. But it all seems like one big trade involving almost half the teams in the league. I almost started to lose track of who went where, so I’ll break it down.

Billings went from Toronto to New England for Kevin Crowley but then Crowley was sent back to New England for Dan Lintner while Billings was sent to Vancouver for Tyler Digby who was then traded to Calgary for Shawn Evans. And a bunch of draft picks changed hands as well.

Got it?

OK. At the trade deadline last season, Garrett Billings was sent to New England for Kevin Crowley. As posited by me and totally unconfirmed and uncorroborated, this deal included a gentleman’s agreement that Crowley would be sent back to New England at the end of the season. This happened in early October, as Crowley was traded to the Black Wolves for draft pick Dan Lintner and a second round pick in 2016. This wasn’t quite a Holy Crap trade, but it was significant.

But the combination of Crowley and Billings on the same roster was not to be. Holy Crap Trade #1 happened two weeks later, sending Billings to Vancouver in exchange for Tyler Digby and a second round pick in 2017. This is where Billings’ part of the story ends. He’s now playing in his home town of Langley, and western goalies are very worried about the impact he’ll have on guys like Rhys Duch and Corey Small. But we weren’t done yet. A day later, Holy Crap Trade #2 happened.

Tyler Digby

Tyler Digby, it was said, wanted to be in the East because he recently moved to Pennsylvania. But the ink on his trade to New England was barely dry before he was traded again. Digby went to the Calgary Roughnecks for who else but the reigning league MVP, Shawn Freaking Evans, who wanted to play closer to his home in Peterborough. New England’s first round draft picks in 2018 and 2019 now also belong to Calgary, and Calgary’s third round pick in 2018 goes to New England. This marks only the second time in league history that the current MVP was traded, the first being Gary Gait who was sent from Philadelphia to Baltimore in 1998. But as surprising as the Evans trade was, the Gait trade blows it away. At that point, Gait had won three straight MVP awards and after the trade, he won the next two as well.

Did you sense the trend here? Billings is back home. Evans is closer to home. Crowley lives in Philadelphia, so he’s also closer to home. Digby wanted to be, but it didn’t work out. And the reason Gait was traded in 1998? To be closer to his home in Baltimore.

The trades themselves might have been surprising, but if the reasoning behind them surprises you, you’re obviously new here. Welcome to the NLL.

In a nutshell

I’ll break down my impressions of each team’s outlook once the rosters are announced in December, but here’s the end result for now:

Toronto is down Kevin Crowley and up Dan Lintner and a second.

New England is down Billings and two first rounders (in 3 years), and up Shawn Freaking Evans and a third.

Vancouver is down Tyler Digby and up Garrett Billings

Calgary is down Shawn Freaking Evans, and up Tyler Digby and two firsts.

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The Crowley Trade Episode II: Attack of the Black Wolves

An odd trade occurred on Saturday that I suspect began back in March. The Toronto Rock sent Kevin Crowley back from whence he came, the New England Black Wolves, in exchange for Dan Lintner and New England’s second round pick next year. Crowley, of course, was acquired at the trade deadline last season in exchange for holdout Garrett Billings. Lintner was New England’s first round pick at the draft two weeks ago, 8th overall.

Jamie Dawick is quoted in the press release: “…we’re not far off with this deal from what was also on the table at the trade deadline in March.   We needed a player last year so the 2016 first round draft pick didn’t make sense at the time.” So they agreed in principle to trade Billings for a first and a second, but the Rock needed a player right away so they changed it to Crowley. Now they’ve basically reversed it to what they agreed on originally.

Pure speculation on my part, but it sounds to me like this was a two-stage trade from the start. Instead of the two draft picks, you give us Crowley for the rest of the season, then we’ll trade him back to you for the two draft picks once the season’s done. Perhaps the talking at the draft was that rather than the 2016 first, we’ll take Lintner since we wanted him anyway.

New England kind of won the trade last season, just based on numbers. By the time the deal was done the Rock only had four games left, while New England had eight. The Black Wolves got twice as many games from Billings than the Rock got from Crowley, and Billings averaged 4.5 points per game to Crowley’s 3.0. Then again, the Rock did have Crowley for five playoff games while New England missed the playoffs entirely, so that evens things out some.

Kevin CrowleySo the deal ends up being Billings to New England for a 1st round pick (Lintner), a 2nd round pick (in 2016), and the use of Kevin Crowley for half a season. Is this fair value for someone who averaged 105 points over the previous three seasons? On the surface, no. But if you factor in Billings’ surgery last year, it’s possible the Black Wolves are not getting  the same Garrett Billings who put up those big numbers. If he returns to his previous level of dominance and puts up the big numbers, then good for him and the Black Wolves win the trade. But it’s also possible that Lintner pulls a Brett Hickey and comes out of nowhere to score 50 goals. Honestly, that seems less likely, but who knows? He was picked in the first round because that is a possibility.

For now, I’d have to say that the Black Wolves are the winners here, but unless Billings returns to his pre-injury form and Lintner is a bust, I wouldn’t say the Rock got fleeced either. As with most trades, we won’t really know who won it until a long time after.

Trade deadline 2015

Now that is what a trade deadline is all about.

Wow, that was fun. Every team in the league made a trade on Tuesday, some bigger than others. But you could argue that the trades made on deadline day included the best player on three different teams, as well as two captains. Below is a summary of the deals we saw on Monday and Tuesday:

Andrew Suitor for Joel White

To Minnesota: Joel White and a second round pick in 2016
To New England: Andrew Suitor

It’s rare for the current captain of a team to be traded. It’s even more rare for captains of two teams to be swapped. This trade confused a lot of people considering how important Suitor was to the Swarm. He was their captain, their leader in every way but scoring, the “heart and soul” of the team, and the phrase “fan favourite” doesn’t begin to cover it. But they traded him anyway which pissed off a lot of Swarm fans, judging by the comments on their Facebook post announcing the trade. In return they get another solid transition guy in Joel White, who has similar scoring numbers to Suitor but far fewer penalty minutes (Suitor has 20, White has just 2) and a lot more loose balls (117 to Suitor’s 60). Suitor is just over two months older than White so age wasn’t a concern for the Swarm, but I imagine White has a smaller salary than Suitor, which is.

Considering how much anger and questioning of the sanity of the Arlottas we’ve seen regarding this trade, you’d think that they got nothing back. Joel White is kind of on the losing end here. The Swarm are getting more loose balls and less time in the box, and though White is perhaps less of a vocal leader than Suitor, he’s still has leadership skills or the Black Wolves wouldn’t have made him the captain. Meanwhile the Wolves get a passionate guy who’ll run through walls for his teammates and is willing to fight if necessary, just in case Bill O’Brien doesn’t feel like it.

Honestly, I’m not sure of the overall advantage of this trade for the Swarm. White might put up slightly better numbers, but if you’re going to anger most of your fan base and lose season ticket holders, is it worth it?

 

Logan SchussLogan Schuss for Johnny Powless

To Vancouver: Logan Schuss
To Minnesota: Johnny Powless

While the Suitor deal raised a few eyebrows, the Swarm’s other major deal works out very well for them. Schuss had job commitments in BC that kept him out of a couple of games (though fewer than he originally expected), so this way he’s much more likely to be able to play. Both Schuss and Powless are young lefties (Schuss is 24, Powless 22). Powless just wasn’t fitting into the Stealth offense, as shown by his 7 goals in 11 games. As said in an article in the Vancouver Province, Powless had as many 0-goal games in his 11 with the Stealth (7) as he did in three full seasons with the Knighthawks. Powless wanted out of Rochester because he didn’t want to be playing behind Cody Jamieson and Dan Dawson all the time, only to be playing behind Rhys Duch, Tyler Digby, and Corey Small in Vancouver. In Minnesota, I think he’ll be alongside Callum Crawford, Miles Thompson, and Shayne Jackson rather than behind them, so this could work out very well for them.

 

Cam Flint

To Colorado: Cam Flint
To Minnesota: Second and third round picks in 2016

Not much to say about this one – Flint had 2 points in 11 games with the Swarm last season but has yet to play this year. Two draft picks for a player with that little NLL experience tells you how highly the Mammoth thinks of Flint, who went to the University of Denver.

 

Matthew Dinsdale

To Edmonton: Matthew Dinsdale
To Calgary: Third round pick, 2016

After Scott Ranger retired in the off-season, I remember some talk that Dinsdale was likely going to get Ranger’s spot and thus lots more playing time. I honestly don’t know if the playing time increased, but while Calgary scored 38 goals in their first three games, Dinsdale was held pointless in all three. After that, his playing time dropped and by the time this trade happened, he’d only played in 6 games and only pulled in 6 points. This is consistent with his numbers over the previous two years (24 points in 27 games). With the addition of Sean Pollock onto the Roughnecks roster, Dinsdale’s playing time wasn’t likely to increase. Maybe a change of scenery (onto a team much more likely to make the playoffs) will do him good.

 

Joe Resetarits for Jamie Batson

To Rochester: Joe Resetarits and a third round pick in 2016
To Buffalo: Jamie Batson, second round pick in 2016, and second round pick in 2017

Resetarits had a pretty good year in 2014, with 42 points in 17 games, but his production has dropped a little this year. His 21 points in 10 games is 6th on the Bandits but would be 7th on the Knighthawks. But playing behind Jammer, Dawson, Point, Walters, Hall, Vitarelli, and Keogh, it’s not clear how much playing time will be left for Resetarits. Batson is a defender with 0 career points in 8 games, but has only played in 2 games this year.

 

Garrett Billings for Kevin Crowley

To New England: Garrett Billings
To Toronto: Kevin Crowley

This was the biggest deal of the day and as a Rock fan, I have to admit I was a little underwhelmed at first. Billings was the MVP runner-up in each of the last 3 seasons and the only player in NLL history to score 100+ points three years in a row. Crowley has been good, sometimes great, for Philly and New England, but he’s averaged around 75% of what Billings has done. I’d say Crowley’s a great player but not an elite one like Billings, so a one-for-one trade doesn’t seem to make sense. But first, we knew that Billings was going to be traded, and likely not for what he was worth. And second, Billings is coming off of knee surgery, and may or may not still be the elite player he was. If he is, then yes, New England wins this one. Going strictly by numbers, even if Billings is only 80% of what he was, New England still wins.

Crowley the GiantBut I wonder if Crowley being the #1 pick overall caused some people (myself included) to expect too much of him. He was expected to be the guy both in Philadelphia and in New England. To his credit, he’s been the top or second scorer on his team every year of his career, but hasn’t been the 90-100 point guy that I kind of expected. But in Toronto, he doesn’t need to be the guy. He can just be one of the guys. And since the guys include Hellyer, Hickey, Sanderson, and Leblanc (and hopefully Doyle next year), that’s not bad company to be around. While I’m sure he learned a lot from veteran Dan Dawson in their one year together in Philly, now he has the opportunity to learn from Sanderson and Doyle and who knows – maybe in a couple of years, he will be the guy on the Rock, but if Hellyer and Hickey keep playing the way they have been, he may not need to be.

Assuming he’s not hobbled by the surgery, Billings is an exciting player to watch and I envy the New England fans who are able to see him at every home game now. He’s known for his playmaking ability and passing (he has twice as many career assists as goals), but he can score with the best of them including lasers from way out, cross-crease dives, and behind-the-back John Grant-style beauties.

Would I prefer to have Billings back on the Rock? Yes, I have to admit that I would. But I’ve known for weeks that that would be unlikely, so I prepared myself for the likelihood that he’d be gone. Given the alternatives (the Rock lose him for nothing or scratch him for the rest of the season), I originally thought that adding Crowley would be better than nothing, but not much more than that. But I’ve warmed to the idea and similar to the Schuss-Powless deal, I think this could be good for both teams as well.

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!

The Benesch trade: could both teams lose?

As you’ve heard by now, the Buffalo Bandits have acquired sniper Ryan Benesch and transition man Andrew Watt from the Swarm for two first round draft picks (2015, 2016) and a third round pick in 2017. This looks to be a great deal for the Bandits, who lose nobody from their roster while picking up two solid players including Benesch, a former rookie of the year and league scoring leader. It could also be great for the Swarm, who just love their first round draft picks. But it could also be a disaster for both.

The Swarm had four first round draft picks in 2012, and they have four more in 2013, including one of Buffalo’s (from the Cosmo deal). Now they have Buffalo’s first round picks for 2014 (Cosmo again), 2015, and 2016 as well as their own. This, plus Philadelphia’s 2015 pick from the Kevin Ross trade, gives them at least eleven first round picks over the next four drafts.

This is a bit of a strange deal for the Swarm, on the assumption that Benesch didn’t ask for a trade. As I said, they certainly love acquiring first round picks, but I’m not sure it makes sense to give up someone who’s a star now for draft picks. I get that first round picks are important and can change a franchise entirely (right Edmonton Rush and Pittsburgh Penguins? Or the 2013 Swarm for that matter), but the best-case scenario for the Swarm is that they are able to draft someone as good as Benesch. If Benny was 34 and one of those “still pretty good but on the downside of his career” players, it might make sense, but he’s only 28 and could easily be at or near the top of the league in scoring for the next five years or more. Even if the first of the draft picks they got results in the next Mark Matthews, they still have 2 full seasons of no Benesch and no Watt before then.

Ryan BeneschThey do have four first-round picks this year, and if they want to get them all on the roster, then four players from last year have to go. They’ll likely want Andrew Suitor back in the lineup, so that’s one more. But I don’t think Benesch and Watt were at the top of John Arlotta’s “list of players who can be dumped in favour of rookies”. In addition, this trade has made the Bandits better, so it’s unlikely that the Bandits’ first round picks will be all that high anyway.

Meanwhile the Bandits have no first round picks for the next four years. It’s now safe to say that the Cosmo deal was a bust, in that Cosmo has only shown glimpses of the former Goaltender of the Year the Bandits hoped they were getting. Indeed, 2012 and 2013 were the worst seasons of Cosmo’s career in terms of both GAA and save percentage. The Bandits have not yet given up anything for Cosmo – this year’s draft will be the first of the two first-round picks they gave up. But unless Cosmo recovers in a big way next season, the next two drafts might be tough to swallow for Bandits fans.

If the Benesch deal doesn’t work out for whatever reason, the two drafts after those might be just as tough. There would be nothing worse for Bandits fans to head into a draft knowing you have no first round pick this year or next because of a trade for a player that hasn’t played for you for two years, but if Benesch is traded again, that could be the case. But Steve Dietrich knows this. With this trade, the Bandits are going all in with Benesch as their offensive leader for the next half-decade. Obviously losing John Tavares will hurt, whether he retires now or after another season, but with Benesch as the new offensive go-to guy, the Bandits can handle it. That’s something they’ve never really been able to say before. Not saying Benesch is on a par with Tavares, arguably the best NLL player ever, but if you’re looking to replace a strong lefty scoring threat, you could do far worse.

I have no reason to believe that Benesch won’t be successful in Buffalo. If he does take over John Tavares’ spot as the offensive leader of the team, the trade may work out very well for the Bandits. And if the Swarm’s 2013 draft picks work out as well as their 2012 ones did (Matisz, Jackson, Sorensen, Crepinsek), they may be able to survive the loss of Benesch and Watt pretty well.

All trades take time to determine who the real winners were, in some cases a few years. If it takes that long to decide the winner of this deal, it’s likely the Bandits came out on top. But if Dietrich’s bet on Benesch doesn’t work out, things could be pretty bleak in Buffalo for a long time.

The Casey Powell trade: Good or bad for the Mammoth?

Considering I’ve only known about the Casey Powell trade for about twelve hours, I’ve changed my mind about it a surprising number of times. First it was great because it shakes up both offenses. Then it was dumb because Casey Powell is old. Then it was smart because he’s not that old. Then it was dumb because even if he’s not that old, he’s unlikely to play for long, making this a rental move. Now I’m back to good.

The offense for both teams did need a shake-up, and this deal will certainly provide that. Casey Powell wasn’t having an outstanding season – 22 points in 7 games, which would be a 50 point season over 16 games. This is far from terrible, but it would be his lowest point total since 2000. The Knighthawks offense was getting a little crowded, with Powell, Dan Dawson, Cody Jamieson, Mike Accursi, Johnny Powless, Cory Vitarelli, Stephen Keogh, and Craig Point. This move takes Powell out of the mix, giving the rest of them a little more floor time, which if nothing else changes the dynamic. It might allow the Knighthawks to see a little more of the 8-10 point Dan Dawson and less of the 2-3 point Dan Dawson. If the Knighthawks offensive problems were a case of too many cooks, this may help the broth turn out a little better. Hopefully better than that metaphor just did.

Casey Powell

In the case of the Mammoth, John Grant is having a very good season, a little down from last year’s outstanding season, but that’s to be expected. Unfortunately, pretty much everyone else in the offense is down from last year as well. Adding Casey Powell to that mix will have the opposite effect than in Rochester. Rather than having too many people to pass to, the Mammoth only had one, and I’ve heard a lot of Mammoth fans talk about how all their offense flows through Grant. I’ve even heard suggestions that maybe sitting Grant for a game might be a good idea, just to let the offense know that it’s possible to take a shot yourself, even if Grant is on the floor. Adding Powell will change their dynamic as well, allowing them to not put Grant out there on every shift if they don’t want to. This also reduces the possibility of Grant being what we in the computer industry call a “single point of failure” – if Grant gets injured, the Mammoth offense might have fallen apart. With Powell in the lineup, they should be able to adapt a little easier. In fact, there is talk that Gavin Prout is injured and may miss the remainder of the season, in which case Powell simply replaces Prout.

There’s also the mentoring aspect – if you’re a young offensive player, particularly an American, it’s hard to imagine not being excited to have arguably the greatest American lacrosse player in history playing beside you.

The reason I thought this was a bad idea for a little while was based on an assumption that I do not know to be true – the assumption that Casey Powell will retire at the end of this season, or maybe next season at the latest. He just turned 37 and missed all of last season due to injury, so it stands to reason that he may not play much longer. If that’s true, then the Mammoth have given up Jon Sullivan (from a defense that could really use him) and a pick for at most a season and a half of Powell. Is he enough to turn the team around and make them contenders? If not, the deal makes no sense. They didn’t get Powell so they could be contenders for the next five years, this is a move for right now, and the Mammoth are in last place so there may not even be a “right now”.

But there are two reasons I changed my mind on this. First, 37 isn’t that old (right, John Tavares?). In fact, Powell is a year and four months younger than John Grant. Powell has retired from the MLL but he could play another few years if he can stay healthy. It’s a bit of a risk to assume that though.

The other reason is that in the current NLL, as long as you don’t finish dead last, you’re in the playoffs. And as Edmonton showed us last year (and several years ago in the NHL as well, now that I think about it), once you’re in the playoffs anything can happen. If Grant and Powell have a couple of very good games, Lewis and Belanger don’t have to be outstanding. If they’re just “good enough”, we could be talking about the 2013 Champion Colorado Mammoth. Weirder things have happened though admittedly, not many.

It’s likely that Powell is a rental player and will retire after this season. If the Mammoth get a Championship out of it, obviously it’s a good deal for them. Even if they just make the playoffs, you could argue it’s a good deal considering that they’re the team on the outside looking in at this point. If the Mammoth get a second season out of Powell, so much the better for them. It’s really only if he doesn’t play (or tanks) and they miss the playoffs that this doesn’t work out as as even a small win for the Mammoth.

As for the Knighthawks, the offense gets better through addition by subtraction, and they pick up a good experienced defender and a draft pick, so it’s a win for them as well.

Offseason Report #3: Trade frenzy

Just nine days after the NLL and the NLLPA agreed to a deal that will allow the 2013 season to go forward with the same CBA as 2012, there have been all kinds of moves involving every team in the league. The Bandits named Steve Dietrich their new GM, the Stealth re-signed head coach Chris Hall and signed a five-year lease with Comcast Arena, the Roughnecks and Mammoth announced a pre-season game in Langley BC,  the Rush re-signed GM and coach Derek Keenan, and there were no less than five trades involving seven teams in only two days.

The first trade was the Rock sending holdout Aaron Pascas to the Roughnecks for a third round draft pick. This is one of those deals that looks worse than it is – in an ideal world, Pascas is worth more than a 3rd round pick. But he’s a BC boy who has already missed an entire season due to work commitments, and so perhaps the Rock decided that getting a pick was better than the nothing they may get if he can’t play in 2013 either. The Roughnecks get a scorer for the left side who is young and yet has won a Championship. If Pascas has scheduling issues with his job as a firefighter, it’s more likely that he’ll be able to make games in Calgary than in Toronto, so it’s a good deal for him as well.

Jarrett DavisA few hours after the Pascas deal, the Swarm sent forward Kevin Ross to Philadelphia for a first round pick way off in 2015. Swarm owner John Arlotta said that Ross will “get the chance to play closer to home”. Home for Ross is London Ontario, which is nine hours from Philadelphia and fourteen from St. Paul. (Note that I am Canadian, and in Canada we measure distances not in miles or kilometres, but in driving time.) Cutting down your commute from 14 hours to 9 is not much of an advantage, really. Perhaps the flights from southern Ontario to Philly are shorter than to Minnesota, though I can’t imagine it’s much of a difference there either. Anyway, Philly is pretty happy with the trade, especially when you consider that Ross scored 9 points against them in one game and 5 in another last season. Swarm fans were less thrilled since they lose Ross’s 59 points and get nothing in return for over three years.

A day later, three trades rocked the NLL, as the Edmonton Rush finally made the trade that everyone has been waiting for since February, sending Paul Rabil to Rochester for Jarrett Davis. The Rush finally have something to show for Brodie Merrill – but the whole Merrill / Iannucci / Rabil drama has been done to death so I won’t give all the details again. Davis is a very good player even if he’s no Merrill or Rabil, so at first blush it would seem that the Knighthawks clearly win this trade. Adding someone of Rabil’s calibre makes the reigning Champions a far better team, and that’s not something that Rock, Bandits, or Wings fans want to hear. But then again, Davis may actually put on a Rush uniform at some point, which is more than Rabil ever did, so the Rush are up one transition player and down nothing. This is a pretty good deal for both teams.

Well, in that trade they’re down nothing. Associate captain Shawn Williams will not be returning to the Rush, so they are down a scorer as well. The Rush traded Williams, who was a few days away from becoming an unrestricted free agent, to the Minnesota Swarm for draft picks. But Williams’s career as a member of the Swarm was just as long in terms of games played as that of Anthony Cosmo or Josh Sanderson, as he was immediately shuffled off to Buffalo along with Brendan Doran and more draft picks for Buffalo’s first round pick this year. The Swarm now have the #2, #3, and #4 picks in this year’s entry draft. The Bandits pick up Doran, a “young gritty defenseman” says Steve Dietrich, as well as the veteran Williams. Willy is fresh off a season in which he reached the finals, scored his 1,000th NLL point, and set an NLL record for most consecutive games played (190+ and counting). The move reunites the 38-year-old Williams with 43-year-old John Tavares, who played together in Buffalo in 2000 and 2001, and gives the Bandits another legitimate scoring threat. I wouldn’t say the move immediately propels the Bandits into first place in my 2013 NLL East division rankings, but it certainly raises some eyebrows for anyone looking at how the Bandits might recover from the 2012 season, which was terrible disastrous horrific less successful than they might have liked.

So all of those trades happened in just two days. The 2013 NLL season doesn’t start for over five months. It could be a busy summer.