NLL Season Preview: Philadelphia Wings

When the Wings started the 2012 season the expectations were very high.  The acquisition of Dan Dawson in the dispersal draft, the selection of Kevin Crowley as their #1 overall pick had the Wings faithful looking up.  After a 22-12 season opener to the Knighthawks, the faithful fans feared another long season.  The Wings then proceeded to win 7 of the next 10 games to stand at 7-4 and on top of the NLL Eastern division, and then the roof caved in!!  The Wings went on to lose their last 5 regular season games to finish at 7-9 and third in the division.  With a playoff game versusRochester facing them on the road the Wings hoped to turn things around, which finally happened in the second half only to fall short in the game 14-13.

Fast forward to summer 2012…Wings acquire Kevin Ross from Minnesota, Kevin Buchanan from the Bandits, gone are Mike Hominuck and David Brock.  Enter Jimmy Butler, and the start of rookie/free agent camp in November.  Butler is the man who put the Titans together for there two year run in 08-09, by building a team of 50%+ Americans.   Thirty runners and eight goalies come to camp fighting for the chance to make it to Wings official training camp in December. After a strong first week of camp the free agents/rookies who advanced showed they can play with the veterans.  A week before the final roster has to be submitted the Wings pull of a blockbuster trade, sending Dan & Paul Dawson along with a 2016 first round pick to Rochester for Paul Rabil, Jordan Hall, Joel White, Rob Campbell and a second round selection in 2014 entry draft.  Wings also traded for back-up goaltender Kevin Crosweel for the Washington Stealth, thus releasing back-up Steve Fryer.

The Wings now come into the 2013 season with 7 forwards, 8 defensemen, 5 transition and 3 goaltenders.  Thirteen of the players are new to the team with 7 being rookies.  But don’t let these rookies fool you.  Will Harrington (F), Chad Weidmaier(D) and Ethan Farrell(F) are very strong players at their position.  Then you add draft picks CJ Costabile and Mike Manley and you have strong yoth to grow in this organization.  Now enter Paul Rabil and the signing of Kyle Hartzell and you have two veterans who can play transition, defense and offense.  Veterans Brodie Merrill, Drew Westervelt, Brett Manney and Brandon Miller look to make up for last season, and second year player Kevin Crowley looks to have a stronger season.

Could we be saying the Butler did it again?  Stay tuned and find out!

2012 ended on a very sour note, and the Philadelphia Wings would love nothing more then to have that taste become the sweet taste of champagne for the seventh time from the Champions Cup in May.

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