This off season we plan on going one on one with every general manager in the National Lacrosse League to discuss the latest news. We spoke with Doug Locker of the Vancouver Stealth this week. Below are notes on four main areas of pre season talk with NLL teams.
Trades: Kyle [Belton] is a very athletic versatile player with two seasons of NLL experience under his belt. We feel he is very good in transition and is a player who could also take some shifts on offence if necessary. We believe that Tyler Hass will do are great job for us in the coming season and have wanted him for a number of years – so we are extremely excited to have him with the Stealth this coming year.
Free Agency: Mike Grimes and Jeff Moleski are two extremely talented NLL defenders and certainly are two guys any team would love to have playing with them.Unfortunatly playing in the NLL is not a full time job and as such full time and family responsibilities take precedence as players get older and that was certainly the case with both Mike and Jeff. We were also very fortunate to have been able to sign Tyler Burton as a free agent in the summer and frankly we love what he brings to our organization. One thing I have learned over the years is to not look backwards and looking forward we are really very excited to have both Tyler’s with us this coming season.
At this stage we will watch to see what develops prior to and immediately after the upcoming NLL Draft to determine what additional free agents we take a look at. The NLL Combine will give us a more detailed look at some players who are free agents and then normal player movement in the coming weeks will I’m sure open up a few additional opportunities.
Draft: The honest answer is we are looking to improve our club in any way we can and based on our performance last season we’re looking at a number of areas. Myself, Dan Perreault and the rest of the coaching staff have been working hard over the last several weeks to identify players at all positions that we think will make us better. We will use whatever means needed whether it be the draft, free agency or trades. Of course it makes sense to draft more BC players as we are a western team, however we are going to draft players whom we feel will make us better no matter where they are originally from.The short answer is that we will not pass on a player from the east if we believe they will make us a better team. The goal here is to win – we would prefer to do it with local players, but we won’t sacrifice wins just to draft players from a certain geographic area.
Pre Season Battles: We are extremely fortunate to have one of the NLL’s best goaltenders in Tyler Richards as our starter. Currently we plan to stay status quo with Matt Roik and Neil Tyacke.