Weiss Bringing Extra Grit and Physicality to Bandits

When the Buffalo Bandits acquired 2014 NLL goaltender of the year nominee Anthony Cosmo in 2012 and their current team scoring leader Ryan Benesch in 2013, General Manager Steve Dietrich knew immediately that there would be a heavy price to pay to immediately turn the once struggling franchise back into a serious contender.

The price that the Bandits ultimately paid for their current success came at the loss of first round NLL draft selections from 2013 to 2016 and a third round selection in 2017.

In order to help the Bandits regain some solid ground in the upcoming 2014 NLL draft and the upcoming drafts to come, Dietrich and the Bandits moved back into the first round following a big trade with the Vancouver Stealth. Buffalo acquired the ninth-overall pick in the 2014 draft (Brandon Goodwin) along with 22-year-old defenseman Nick Weiss, a second round pick in 2015 and a first-round selection in 2018 in exchange for sending gritty defenseman Rory Smith, goaltender Eric Penney and the 12th overall pick of the draft (Conrad Chapman) to Vancouver.

After the draft was over, Dietrich explained why he selected Weiss as part of the trade package with Vancouver. “Nick is a kid that we had targeted last year that we missed out on. He’s hard-nosed, gritty, like Rory Smith in a lot of ways but maybe not as tough when it comes to fighting. He brings everything else to the table. He had to be part of the deal.”

Buffalo Bandits head coach Troy Cordingley also had plenty of great things to say about the incoming arrival of Weiss in that “Nick is a very talented defensive player. He is a very similar style player as Rory in that he is also a very gritty and physical player.”

For the fans who are unfamiliar with Nick Weiss, here is a little background information to get you ready for the upcoming 2015 NLL season. Weiss was selected 17th overall by the Vancouver Stealth in the 2013 draft. The last profile information listed on the NLL official website has Weiss at six foot two inches, 195 pounds, shooting right handed and hailing from Port Hope, Ontario.

When the Stealth drafted Weiss with the 17th overall selection, he was finishing up his lacrosse tutiledge with the Peterborough Merit Precision Junior A Lakers. In his first three seasons with the Junior Lakers, Weiss had 31 goals and 49 assists. During his final season with the Junior Lakers, Weiss tallied 11 goals and 17 assists for 28 points during the regular season and three goals with five assists for eight points in league playoffs.

When Weiss made his way into Vancouver Stealth training camp for the upcoming 2014 NLL season, GM Doug Locker praised Weiss for being a tenacious defender who possesses great foot speed and his ability to transition the ball up the floor. But the true versatility that Weiss possesses is also noted in his offensive scoring capabilities and gifts as a face-off specialist.

Unfortunately due to the new CBA and its reduced roster size requirement, Weiss was placed on the practice squad and unable to crack the Stealth opening day roster.

Weiss finally got the call up he had been waiting for from Locker and joined the Stealth starting roster on January 18th, 2014. This special evening would truly be a game of firsts for Weiss as he faced the Calgary Roughnecks on the road at the Calgary Scotiabank Saddledome. In his first ever NLL career game, Weiss would go on to record his first NLL career goal and first career assist in the Stealth’s 15-12  week 4 loss to the Roughnecks.

Weiss’s first goal that evening proved to the fans in Vancouver why he was selected 17th overall. Weiss used his tremendous speed to fly up the floor as the trailer, he received the pass from Tyler Garrison and buried that opportunity for all it was worth against Roughnecks goaltender Mike Poulin.

From that first game on, Weiss, and the dynamic play of another transition specialist in Ilija Gajic, helped to give the Stealth transition game an effective one-two punch in assisting forwards like Rhys Duch and Lewis Ratcliff to help boost the offensive production for the team. As the 2014 NLL regular season came to a close, Weiss tallied 13 points (7 goals, 6 assists) and 86 loose balls in 15 regular season games with the Stealth. In his inaugural season with the team, Weiss ranked ninth in goals, fifteenth in assists and fifth in loose balls.

The 2014 NLL season was not a kind one to Weiss and the Stealth as they were tied for dead last in league standings with the Minnesota Swarm at a record of 4-12 and unable to reach the playoffs.

Over the summer months, Weiss recorded another 12 points (5 goals and 7 assists) in 18 games during the regular season as a member of the Peterborough Lakers, helping the team advance to the playoffs. Even though Weiss recorded 7 points (1 goal and 6 assists) and went 7 for 19 in the faceoff department in 10 playoff games, the Lakers were eliminated in the playoffs by the defending Mann Cup Champion Six Nations Chiefs.

Heading into the 2015 season, Weiss will hopefully be able to fill the role of the vacant Rory Smith and make a permanent stay in the Bandits starting lineup. Hopefully Weiss’s grit, determination and physicality will assist the already monstrous defensive corps into becoming an even bigger threat to their NLL opponents.