Photo Credit: Dan Brodie
The Minnesota Swarm has struggled with offense and scoring this season, and as a result has only garnered one win. While very few players on the team are lighting up the scoreboard so far this season, they drafted several highly touted rookies with high draft picks. There was a lot of focus on these picks going into the season, and while not many players are scoring tons of goals, when draft picks with high expectations aren’t scoring, people are going to take notice and question the methods taken to obtain some of the picks.
We’ll start by examining the number one pick. Logan Schuss entered the NLL as a high scorer in college and had a pretty good first season in the MLL. Schuss scored 146 goals in college and 28 with the Ohio Machine over the summer. He presently is scoring for the Swarm and does rank third on the team in goals with 10. (Callum Crawford leads with 12 while Jordan MacIntosh follows at 11). Schuss also leads in shots on net, so he is definitely taking opportunities to score, and it looks like for one rookie, this method is paying off for him. Schuss is attending school at Ohio State during the week to finish up his teaching degree and commuting to games, so next year with less of an academic focus, one has to wonder if his production might increase.
Jason Noble was our second draft pick for this year. In six games, Noble has yet to score and has tallied one assist. This is probably not good news, if like me, you pegged him as rookie of the year. Collegiately, Noble scored two goals in three years as a defenseman at Cornell. He has forced seven turnovers however.
The third player chosen this year for the Swarm was Cameron Flint. Flint scored one goal in three games. While at Denver, he scored 103 goals in 65 games. He had eight goals in seven games with the Boston Cannons over the summer. Flint has only been a part of the lineup for three games while Schuss and Noble have been a part of the majority of the games, so with being in the line up with more frequency, he might have increased scoring.
Scott Jones rounded out the first round of the draft for the Swarm. Jones has two goals in six games. Jones had 96 goals in four years at UMBC. Jones is averaging three shots on goal per game, so where Schuss is averaging eight, so perhaps if 89 were to work on increasing his shooting, the goals would increase with it.
Jordan Houtby was the next draft pick to make the team. The Detroit-Mercy alum has six college goals and one goal with the Brooklin Redmen. He has played in two games for the Swarm so far where he has yet to score and yet to take a shot on goal which explains his lack of scoring.
So, yes, the rookies aren’t adding much to the scoresheet with the exception of Schuss. However, it’s not just a rookie problem. Four returning players have no goals while three have posted a single goal. 150 of the Swarm’s 336 shots on goal belong to their top three scorers. Only six players have 25 or greater shots; two have over 50. The majority of the players just aren’t taking or getting the chances. Yes, I’ve examined the rookies not scoring, and no, I don’t have any real reasons why other than the lack of chances being taken and the fact that initially, the Swarm did face some tough competition in the net. However, trades were made to acquire some of these picks and future picks. Nick Bilic was traded for the pick that became Cam Flint. However, Bilic has the same number of goals as Flint. Even though he never suited up for the Swarm, Anthony Cosmo was traded for first round picks in 2013 and 2014 that became Logan Schuss and someone yet to be determined. Ryan Sharp was traded for the pick that became Scott Jones. Sharp retired in 2013. This past offseason, Andrew Watt, Ryan Benesch and Evan Kirk were given up for future picks. Watt has three goals in six games with Buffalo while Benesch has 13 in eight games there. Evan Kirk presently has a .763 save percentage for the Philadelphia Wings and has made 313 saves. It’s going to be interesting to see in future years if it was worth it to give these players up.