As the Calgary Roughnecks prepare for their 13th season in the National Lacrosse League, let’s reflect on some of the key trades that have made the franchise into the powerhouse that it has become.
The move that has arguably defined the course of the franchise happened just before the Roughnecks began their inaugural season when Calgary dealt first-round draft pick Blaine Manning to the Toronto Rock for Calgary native Kaleb Toth, who had just finished his second season with Toronto.
Toth would go on to score 30 or more goals in his first four seasons with the Roughnecks and would be a critical piece of the Calgary offense in their two Champion’s Cup wins in 2004 and 2009.
Toth retired after the 2012 season as the all-time leader for the Roughnecks in goals (274), assists (324), points (628) and games played (160) and was inducted as the first member of the Forever A Roughneck program. His importance to the team as the local kid who brought legitimacy to the sport in a city not known as a lacrosse hotbed can’t be understated.
In the summer of 2006 the Roughnecks traded forward Kevin Dostie to the Buffalo Bandits. Dostie had played in 28 games over three seasons, picking up 63 points and 89 loose balls and also figured in Calgary’s run to the Champion’s Cup in 2004.
His best season was 2006 when he scored 38 points and collected 72 loosies, so he was looking like a legitimate up-and-comer when Calgary sent him to Buffalo. He would go on to have an even better 2007, picking up 62 points and 96 loose balls, but that would be his peak; he would play three more solid but unspectacular seasons with the Bandits before his career wrapped up after the 2010 season.
In exchange for Dostie, the Bandits gave Calgary a second-round pick in the 2007 draft (which didn’t pan out) and a young transition player named Jeff Shattler. Shattler had played in just one game in 2006 for the Bandits, but he has missed just a single game since joining the Roughnecks.
Along the way, Shattler has averaged 54 points and 110 loosies per season, including a career-high 75 points in 2011 when he won the NLL MVP award. Shattler was one of the key pieces in Calgary’s 2009 Champion’s Cup and he has now scored 30 goals in back-to-back seasons.
Another key piece in the 2009 championship was Josh Sanderson.
Sanderson was acquired from the Toronto Rock in mid-season in 2008 for Calgary’s top sniper, Lewis Ratcliff. Although many were sad to see Ratcliff go, Shooter made an immediate impact on the Roughnecks. In his two full years with the team, he had back-to-back 100-point seasons, won the scoring title in 2010 with 104 points, and won the Champion’s Cup MVP in 2009.
Sanderson was traded to the Boston Blazers following the 2010 season and two of the players Calgary picked up in the deal, Daryl Veltman and Jon Harnett are now key members of the roster.
Leading up to the 2009 season, the Roughnecks selected Tom Montour in the Chicago Shamrox dispersal draft. The same day, they sent Montour to the Buffalo Bandits in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2010 draft. With that pick they chose Curtis Dickson, who won the Rookie of the Year award, scoring 33 goals.
In his three-year career, Dickson has earned a reputation for highlight-reel goals and has increased his point output every year, becoming one of the top scoring righties in the NLL.
The summer of 2010 saw the Roughnecks acquired hard-nosed faceoff specialist Geoff Snider from the Philadelphia Wings for a draft pick. Snider, another Calgary-raised athlete who has quickly become a fan favourite as well as continuing to cement his status as one of the finest draw men in NLL history.
In 2011 the Roughnecks picked up forward Shawn Evans in exchange for a first-round pick. Evans made an immediate impact, leading the team in goals (32) assists (47) and matching his career high with 79 total points. He was even better last year, winning the league MVP award while scoring 112 points, the fifth-highest single-season total in NLL history.
Taken all-in-all, several of Calgary’s top current performers have arrived as a result of wheeling and dealing. Trades have resulted in a roster that includes two MVP winners (Evans and Shattler), a Rookie of the Year (Dickson) as well as an All-Star MVP (Snider). That’s not bad too shabby and sets the Roughnecks up to be competing for championships for years to come.