The Calgary Roughnecks finished the 2013 NLL regular season with their third straight first-place finish in the West Division and, for the third straight season they did not make it to the Champion’s Cup, leaving a sour taste in their collective mouths.
While many teams might consider leading the division to be a success, the Roughnecks aren’t satisfied with the result and will be looking to challenge for a championship in 2014.
One thing they will need to address in the offseason is team discipline. The Roughnecks led the league in power plays surrendered (107) while only having the sixth-best penalty kill percentage (44.9%).
Finding some new blood that can bring both skill and strength without taking foolish penalties may address this issue.
Part of their struggles on the penalty kill was also some lacklustre play in net for Calgary. After winning the Goaltender of the Year award in 2012, Mike Poulin’s goals against average swelled by almost 2.5 goals per game, to 12.70, with his worst save percentage since 2009 (.742), all well below the standards he has set for himself with the Roughnecks.
Just as concerning, backup Frankie Scigliano suffered the sophomore jinx, posting the worst GAA of any goalie in the league (22.02) while stopping only half of the shots he faced.
Although these numbers were produced in very limited game time—just 21:48 spread over seven appearances—no doubt if big Frankie had been able to take better advantage of the time he was given to spell Poulin, his time on the floor would have gone up.
Consequently, the Roughnecks might be in the market for another goaltender in the offseason to add some extra depth at the position. Bellarmine’s Dillon Ward is considered to be the top goaltending prospect in the upcoming draft; if he is still available in the No. 6 spot overall, Calgary might be taking a long, hard look at him.
On a team that led the NLL in scoring, had four players with 60+ points (including the league leader, Shawn Evans), two with 40+ goals and two more with 30+ goals, it seems difficult to imagine that scoring would be their top priority in the off-season. It might, however, wind up being a bargaining chip in any trade talks they might have.
Moving a Daryl Veltman or Aaron Pascas in exchange for more transition depth or a higher draft pick might get them one step closer to another Champion’s Cup.