The Boston Cannons were the last team eliminated from MLL playoff contention in August, and sights were immediately set on 2017 as the team entered the offseason. The Cannons have been busy so far, as they have already re-signed several key players in Mitch Belisle, Tyler Fiorito, Will Manny, Max Seibald, and Justin Turri. However, there are still some needs to be addressed.
Re-sign Brent Adams:
Brent Adams has been an important player in the Cannons midfield the last few seasons. He was third on the team in points in 2016 with 30, and fourth on the team in ground balls with 37. On top of that, he was also an All-Star in 2016. Adams, who is arguably the fastest player in the MLL, filed for player movement early in the offseason, but has not signed anywhere yet. Losing Adams would leave a gaping hole in the Cannons’ midfield, so re-signing the All-Star midfielder should be a high priority, and I am sure it is.
Add an attackman:
The Cannons’ attack unit is anchored by Will Manny and Davey Emala. Manny, who played his college lacrosse at UMass, has become on of the league’s best scorers (he led the Cannons with 50 points in 2016). Emala recorded 37 points in 2016 with 27 goals and 10 assists, while also developing tremendous chemistry with Manny.
The Cannons rotated their third attack spot throughout the season. Wells Stanwick began the season in that position, and was off to a good start with five goals in the first two games before he fell out of his stride. John Glesener also saw some time at attack, but he was mainly used out of the midfield for the first few games, and it is unknown if he’ll be back. Kylor Bellistri, Callum Crawford, Greg Melaugh, and John Uppgren all were added during the season to help stabilize the attack unit, but it was really only Bellistri and Uppgren that impressed. There could also be a possibility the Cannons don’t add an attacker at all and instead give Bellistri and Uppgren a full season to contribute.
Add an offensive defenseman:
The Cannons defense is led by defensive-minded players in Mitch Belisle, Brodie Merrill, and Brandon Mullins. The defense struggled at times last season, but it got the job done when needed. If there was one thing the Cannons lacked in 2016, it was a defenseman that could play strong defense but still put up points on offense. The Cannons never really had a Scott Ratliff-like defenseman who could jump up on offense and pinch in.
Belisle, Merrill, and Mullins do a lot of the defensive work, but the great play we saw from James Fahey and Mike Pellegrino can’t be ignored. Pellegrino was sent to Boston from Atlanta in the Ratliff deal, and earned himself a role in training camp. Fahey earned himself a spot in an open tryout. All five of these players really helped balance the defense after a frustrating 2015 season, but I still think adding an offensive guy is a good idea.
The Cannons are heading in the right direction. The disappointing end to the 2016 season has the Cannons’ eyes set on getting back to the postseason. They have already locked up multiple key players for the 2017 season and are hoping to bring the Steinfeld Cup back to Boston.