Every team in the NLL made a trade deadline deal in 2015, which makes it easy to grade them.
New England Black Wolves: A
New England appears to be a drastically better team on paper after making two moves for big name players. They add defenseman Andrew Suitor to an already physical roster and arguably the best scorer in the NLL with Garrett Billings. They lose Kevin Crowley, but Billings can replace his scoring and more. The team still has plenty of holes, and might still not be a playoff team. However, these moves will keep them in contention in the future as they build around these two players.
Colorado Mammoth: A
The Mammoth had a lot of rumors around them, but they did the best thing for their team; stood pat. They added Jeremy Noble a few weeks back and that was the best move they could have made; the rookie has been a spark already. Colorado could win the west and they have plenty of flash on their roster. They made the right decisions on deadline day.
Edmonton Rush: A-
The Rush really didn’t have to do anything after they wiped the floor with Rochester 16-3 last week. Their defense is historic, Aaron Bold is having a top notch year, and their offense has fallen into place even after trading away Corey Small. They did make one minor move in adding Matthew Dinsdale from Calgary who was added to their practice roster. They didn’t blow anyone away, but they didn’t have to.
Vancouver Stealth: B+
While the Johnny Powless experiment may have failed, it’s not a total loss for the Stealth. They have essentially traded a #2 overall pick for a #1 overall pick in Logan Schuss, whom they acquired from Minnesota. Schuss has just six less points than Powless in two less games. The 2014 rookie of the year lives in Vancouver and will be able to play in every game, and he could become the face of the team they hoped Powless would be.
Rochester Knighthawks: B
Despite not having many obvious holes, Rochester scored only three goals against Edmonton last week. They acquired a forward in Joe Resetarits who just wasn’t fitting in in Buffalo. He’s been a scratch for the past few Bandits games, but the former sixth overall pick adds a fourth righty forward for the Hawks. Not ground breaking, but Rochester didn’t get worse, either.
Buffalo Bandits: B-
The Bandits are 7-6 and have a 2.5 game lead on Minnesota for the playoffs. Minnesota doesn’t appear too interested in contending this season, so they shouldn’t have a ton to worry about. New England, meanwhile, acquired two solid players and they could go on a run. Buffalo is a streaky team and they could just fall. They have plenty of holes on their roster and probably could have added a forward to make up for Resetarits lack of production and Jerome Thompson’s drop off. They were certainly in discussions, but everything fell through and they did add a need in defenseman Jamie Batson. Not a bad deadline- they just could have done more.
Toronto Rock: C
The Rock did add a great player in Kevin Crowley, and they are the top team in the league. It’s just hard, if you’re Toronto, to leave the Garrett Billings saga without a bad taste in your mouth. The team lost their best player and while they got something good in return, the way they rushed the trade is a bad look. Everyone knew he was gone, so how could they get proper value?
Minnesota Swarm: C-
Minnesota had the most active deadline, as anticipated. First they traded away Andrew Suitor, the face of their team, the captain, and one of the best defensemen in the league. In return they added Joel White, a good player in his own right, but not Suitor. They then preceded to trade away their former #1 overall pick and rookie of the year Logan Schuss for Johnny Powless. The deal made sense in a way since Schuss could not play every game in Minnesota, and Powless joining Miles Thompson could be dynamic. It just doesn’t feel like the Swarm’s approach of draft pick mongering has changed, and any good player seems to be on the move quite soon. The reason for their low grade has a lot to do with the lost clout from their fanbase, and the fact that they are not a better lacrosse team.
Calgary Roughnecks: C-
This might be a bit harsh, but Calgary is in dead last in the entire league and they didn’t make a single roster addition to improve their lineup. Yes, they have the league’s leading scorer in Shawn Evans. Yes, they have big names like Jeff Shattler, Curtis Dickson, and Dane Dobbie. But they do nothing to get back into the race? There had been speculation of them blowing it up, but since they didn’t, they had to improve a bit. At least their goalie situation could have used an upgrade.