The Colorado Mammoth have been extremely busy over the last month or so with the free-agent draft and the NLL Entry Draft. It was known that the team had some difficulties during the 2013-2014 season with the change in coaching staff; Casey Powell’s departure; the goalie controversy; and Adam Jones injury causing him to miss at least one month during the midseason. But the Mammoth have made some stellar moves with their acquisitions.
First up, they are strengthening their defense with not only experienced players, but tall ones at that. Signing Michael “Tree” Simon (6’3” 230 lbs); Colin Boucher (6’5” 235 lbs); Robert Hope (6’5” 192 lbs); D.J. Giacobbo (6’1” 182 lbs); and Zach Rogers (6’5” 210 lbs) will add to an already big and strong defense. Every rookie the Mammoth signed in the draft have superior college careers under their belts, and numerous records to go along with them. When you add the new players to the already strong veteran defense of Colton Clark; Dan Coates; and John Gallant who all stand at 6’0” or taller, Dillon Ward is going to have some great coverage in front of the net.
On the offensive end, the Mammoth have made some outstanding decisions. Picking up Eric Law was huge. In his rookie year with the Denver Outlaws, he scored 24 goals which was sixth-most by a first-year player in league history. During the 2014 season, not only was he second in goals for the Outlaws with 36, he was tied for fifth in the league. His shooting percentage of .500 was the second-highest in the league in 2014 which will make him a key scorer for the Mammoth. Unfortunately, he will miss the first month of the season due to a shoulder injury he suffered during the summer which will require surgery.
They also signed 6’1” 175 lb Eli McLaughlin from Coquitlam, who was a top-three scoring leader, and the top left-handed scorer in the country; Terry Ellis 6’1” 205 lbs who played for the Denver Outlaws in 2014; and their last pick on offense was Mike Crampton at 5’10” 165 lbs who was amazing playing for the US Air Force Academy where he scored at least one goal in 29 consecutive games, and 79 career goals which is second most by a Falcon since 1994. When you factor in John Grant Jr., Adam Jones; Cam Holding; and Athan Iannucci, I see a strong offensive squad who will go up against the best defensive teams in the league, and they’re going to be tough to defend.
For netminders, the Mammoth picked up Alex Buque, the top rated goaltender in the NLL Entry Draft as a backup goalie for Dillon Ward. During his two years at Davenport University, he boasted a 12-6 record; was named IL Indoor’s Junior Goalie of the Year and First Team All-Canadian in 2013. Signing a strong back-up goalie is something the Mammoth needed. With the five-year contract the Mammoth have locked up with Dillon Ward, having Buque as backup is paramount.
The Colorado Mammoth have picked up speed, strength, knowledge of the game, and frankly made probably some of the best choices in their acquisitions. When you put that together with the coaching staff, the Mammoth are going to be one of the better teams in the league for the 2014-2015 season.
According to ColoradoMammoth.com, President and GM Steve Govett said, “With training camp opening in November, it was paramount that we get all of the draftees under contract and get them ready to compete.”
With the CBA that was agreed to for the 2013-2014 season, and the smaller rosters, the Mammoth are going to have to make some tough choices. Only being able to have 18 uniformed players (16 runners and two goalies) during each game, making the choice of who stays and who goes is going to be an extremely tough decision to make.