The Minnesota Swarm finished last in the East with a 4-14 record this season, giving them a win percentage of .222. Needless to say, they did not meet expectations this year, having owned at the draft and having made a good playoff run last year. For those who have been listening to me all season, I’m not going to say anything new here, but in case you’ve missed it, let’s take a look at where things went wrong for the Swarm this year.
The Swarm are a very young team. On their present roster, they have three players with more than three years in the league: Jeff Gilbert and Greg Downing with five, and Callum Crawford with eight. They do have seven year veteran Mike Hobbins on the practice squad. Ten of the players have a year or less of experience in the NLL. I’m not saying that youth is a bad thing, but I feel a more equal mixture of veterans and young blood would have been to their advantage this year.
There were seven new faces on the team this year; technically nine if you consider the fact that Andrew Suitor missed the bulk of last season with a knee injury and that this was Josh Gilliam’s first full season with the Swarm. That’s nearly half the playing roster that didn’t play together all year last year. And it showed. You could easily see the chemistry in the players that had played together last year, and Crawford and Jordan MacIntosh picked it up rather quickly with Logan Schuss, but in other areas it took about half the season to get caught up on. No, you can’t control who goes out with injury from year to year or choices that were made in years past, but keeping a few more familiar faces around, such as Corbyn Tao, might have helped with things.
And this is probably where you heard me rant and rave the most. A very small core of players put up the majority of numbers this year. Almost half the goals came from MacIntosh, Crawford and Schuss. Half the points came from MacIntosh, Crawford, Schuss and Jackson. Two thirds of the shots on goal were from MacIntosh, Crawford, Schuss, Jackson and Kiel Matisz. You have the bulk of everything coming from three to five people. That model is not sustainable. It’s a nice view for the future because you have everyone from a rookie to a veteran and various levels in between, but it’s never going to be sustainable. You need participation in all this from across the board. I’m actually going to highlight this as the biggest reason they were not successful. Results were in the hands of a few. If they faltered, the team was sunk. So, for next year, they need to look at pushing for more results from other players and more accountability from other players in order to be more successful.