The Denver Outlaws were a high-powered offensive in 2012. They scored the most goals in all of Major League Lacrosse en route to having the best regular season record and falling to Chesapeake in the MLL Championship game.
The Outlaws have reached the playoffs in all seven years of the franchise’s existence. Last year’s team far exceeded expectations, after an off-season that saw a lot of turnover in the front office, coaching staff and roster.
Once again the Outlaws are shaking things up.
Denver has been involved in two big trades this off-season.
The first sent midfielders Peet Poillon and Casey Cittadino to the Charlotte Hounds for attackman Jeremy Boltus and a sixth round supplemental draft choice.
Boltus, the 2011 MLL Rookie of the Year, is an Army graduate and still serving for that branch of the government and will soon be stationed in Colorado. He has 36 goals and 60 points in 23 career games played.
The Outlaws also sent midfielder Collin Briggs to the Long Island Lizards for attackman Zack Greer.
Greer has 29 goals and 34 points in 15 career games.
In regards to the 23-player protected rosters, the Outlaws left midfielder Dan Cocchi and attackman Josh Sims unprotected.
Greer and Boltus are two very talented players, but they both come with question marks.
Greer hasn’t played in the MLL since 2010, choosing to play in the LXM Pro Tour. There’s still no guarantee that he will suit up this year either.
In his two seasons, Boltus has frequently faced the possibility that his military responsibilities would keep him from playing in the league. That has yet to be the case, which is good news for Boltus and the league, but it’s a lingering possibility.
Worse news for Boltus is that he suffered a torn ACL towards the end of last season. He can come back from that injury, but it always requires surgery and extensive rehabilitation and is not an easy injury to come back from.
Another negative of the two trades and the unprotected rosters is that the Outlaws lost three midfielders. It means the depth at that position will take a sizable hit, especially with the loss of three-time All-Star Poillon.
The Outlaws have beefed up on attack, now a unit featuring Boltus, Greer, reigning MVP Brendan Mundorf, Mark Matthews, Chris Bocklet and Josh Sims.
The additional depth at the position will be put to use when Mundorf and Matthews miss the beginning of the season while playing in the NLL. It will also come in handy should Mundorf get injured again, much like he did in the playoffs, or should Boltus be unable to play.
Still, the team is a bit thin at midfield. They could look to add depth in the supplemental and collegiate drafts. The Outlaws have only one pick in the first two rounds of the collegiate draft, though they do have two selections in the third round.
The Outlaws off-season moves thus far could be labeled as high-risk, high-reward. Should Greer suit up and Boltus come back strong from his injury, Denver would have an incredible attack arsenal at its disposal.
But there are enough question marks for the acquired players and midfield depth that the moves are certainly not a slam dunk.
Look for the Outlaws to make some additional moves around draft time.