Evaluating the Johnny Powless Era in Vancouver

The Johnny Powless era is over in Vancouver, but did it ever really get off the ground?

The 22-year old lefty was shipped to the Minnesota Swarm after just 11 games in the black and red. Coming Vancouver’s way is hometown kid Logan Schuss.

Schuss, 24, is a different breed than Powless. He’s a much bigger player and plays that way, too. But there is more to his game; he has an underrated finesse about his game. The ability to win in different ways is a desirable trait in box lacrosse. Schuss not only does this, but he’s extremely efficient and productive in doing so.

A former No. 1 overall pick and last year’s NLL rookie of the year, Schuss has a similar pedigree at a young age that Powless has, but has put up much better numbers in his lone season. Schuss came into the league physically ready whereas Powless was so young, he needed time to develop and thus was sheltered in much of his first three years in Rochester. With 36 goals and 37 assists, he has a proven track record of production.

The Powless trade was exciting for Stealth fans, but it’s becoming obvious that Powless never was ready for a primetime offensive role on a contending team. The Stealth brought him in to be the man – the facilitator, a rejuvenation for the left side of the O. He had decent chemistry developing with Corey Small but he really never saw the ball as much as required to get him in the flow of things.

Schuss is a little more stronger and well-rounded than Powless, which does suit what Vancouver wants to do. The Ohio State product will need to play off the ball and create opportunities that way. He has only 14 goals in nine games this season, but his numbers even going back to his Junior A days with the Delta Islanders have been stellar, so it could just be luck keeping his numbers down.

He looks like the type of player the Stealth should have been interested in acquiring in the first place because of the merits of his game, not as a poorly thought out PR move.

If the Stealth didn’t get a player of Schuss’ quality back, they would be folding or relocating in a year or two tops. They gave up an inexcusable amount of assets to land a player who wanted to stay at home and not move out west full time. With Schuss, they get a hometown kid who might be a better fit for the identity Vancouver is trying to fill.

I remember watching Schuss and former Stealth player Mike Mallory decimate the New Westminster Salmonbellies in their Junior A playoff series three years ago. Schuss was great in that series, leading the upstart Islanders to an upset win over a traditional powerhouse.

That is the type of player the Stealth hope to get when they take on the Edmonton Rush in a crucial home-and-home series this weekend.