Minnesota Eliminated: What Now?

The Minnesota Swarm have been eliminated from the 2014 NLL playoffs—this will be the only the third time in the Swarm’s history that they have missed the playoffs. The Swarm had a rough year this season, only winning two of their first 10 games. The Swarm have improved their play in the last number of weeks, going 2-4.

At the 2013 Entry Draft the Swarm drafted four first rounders, Logan Schuss, Scott Jones, Cam Flint, and Jason Noble. Of the four the one player that seems to have upheld his first round pick has been Logan Schuss. Schuss, the first overall pick, has 61 points (30 G, 31 A). His fellow first round forward, Scott Jones, only has 19 points (6 G, 13 A). Jones looked, during the preseason, like he may have been able to win the Rookie of the Year honors. Noble had a difficult beginning to the year when he was suspended for a game due to a preseason crosscheck. Noble has done adequately on defense but has space to grow before he can be considered a top notch defender in the NLL. Cam Flint has shown sparks during the year, much like his MLL season last summer, but he also has room to grow to be a top transition player in the NLL.

The Swarm had a lot of difficulty in between the pipes. Tyler Carlson was more or less given the starting job at the beginning of the year, unfortunately he was not helped out by his offense in most every game. Carlson has been pushed all year by Zach Higgins who, when getting chances, has looked like he may be the future of the Swarm’s goaltending. Neither goalie’s numbers were great this year, but nor were they as bad as they could have been. Carlson was 2-7 with a goals against average of 10.88 goals and a save percentage of .738. Higgins has gone 2-5 with a goals against average of 13.06 goals and a save percentage of .744.

From here the Swarm need to decide if they want to go with their past off season plan of going younger and younger through the draft or if they want to try and find good veterans looking for new homes after this season. They tried to go younger this season and they more or less failed on the year—the Swarm will need to find a happy medium between wanting to stay young and having players who have been there and done won it all.

The Swarm will also need to decide what they want to do when it comes to goalies. Carlson has had two seasons to take control of the net and has not been able to take that control. The Swarm could go two ways, one is seeing if Higgins can handle the starting job and the second is plying the market for a new goalie.

The Swarm will have a lot to decide in the coming months and prior to the 2014 NLL Draft in September.