This past week the free agency list was released for the NLL along with the NLL and the players association agreeing to a new seven year CBA. With the moratorium on free agency up this article will look at what the Edmonton Rush should do in free agency.
The Rush had a huge blow to their offense this offseason as Corey Small tore his acl and will be gone for the season. Small sat third in team scoring last year with 28 goals and 36 assists for 64 points. With the loss of Small the Rush are in need of another high scoring forward who can help carry the load with forwards Mark Matthews and Ryan Ward. The Rush will also be missing leadership as their captain Jimmy Quinlan retired.
The first free agent that the Rush should go after is Lewis Ratcliff. Ratcliff is stalwart veteran who can bring some leadership to the Rush and help to mentor young players like Mark Matthews and Robert Church. Ratcliff posted 31 goals and 36 assists for the Stealth last year slightly higher numbers than Small. Ratcliff would be the ideal fit for the Rush as he has the same offensive upside of Small.
The second option would be Roger Vyse. Vyse only played in three games last season with the Rock but he scored two goals and had four assists. Vyse is another veteran player who can be a short term fix while Small is gone. Vyse has also shown by his play in the MSL that he still has lots left in the tank as he scored 23 goals and 42 assists for 65 points. Vyse would be a great addition that would make the loss of Small feel minimal for the Rush.
First and foremost before signing any free agents the Rush need to re-sign forward Ryan Ward. Ward was the team’s leading scorer in 2013 and will be needed even more this season with Small gone for the season. Ward had 21 goals and an outstanding 54 assists for 75 points. Ward will need to be the quarterback of the Rush offense and he will need to find ways to get the ball into Mark Matthews hands. Ward given the right supporting cast could help give the Rush one of the best offenses in the league.
Overall if the Rush can just get one top forward they will be in a good position to compete for the Champions cup. The Rush have some great depth at forward with veteran Cory Conway who had an excellent summer in the WLA, sophomore’s Curtis Knight and Mark Matthews who are coming off stellar rookie campaigns, and rookies Robert Church and Riley Loewen who will look to make their mark in their first NLL season. In net the Rush still have Aaron Bold who was solid in 2013 posting a 10.56 G.A.A. So even without Small do not count the Rush out this season.