One thing that has been fact in the NLL for years has been it takes goaltenders a long team to become elite. Anthony Cosmo, Matt Vinc and others spent years as back ups before they emerged as top goalies.
Last season we saw the amazingÂ specterÂ of Evan Kirk and Tyler Carlson in Minnesota. Nick Rose became a starter with the Toronto Rock, and Tyler Richards continues his great career inÂ Washington. So the question arises, are young goalies the new way to go?
Of course teams would prefer seasoned veterans like Cosmo, Vinc, Brandon Miller, Chris Levis and a few others. Even Mike Poulin and Aaron Bold were back ups for years. Poulin won goalie of the year last season, but he had a great Calgary defense in front of him forcing bad shots. Meanwhile, after years backing up Pat O’Toole and Matt Vinc, Bold got his chance in Edmonton.
But these young goalies have come as a surprise for a lot of people. Richards is now 26 years old, but began his career as a starter in 2009 when he was 23. He won an NLL Championship in 2010 when he was 24 when he started 16 games for Washington. Richards might be the best goaltender in lacrosse today and began that career at a very young age.
Nick Rose is 24 and became the starter in Toronto last season. He was a back up in Boston and then in Calgary before Toronto snagged him at the trade deadline last season. Rose performed great with Toronto where he led them to the East Championship game.
The biggest story, however, is the Minnesota goaltending duo. Kirk is 25 years old and played 415 minutes in his first season after Minnesota committed themselves to him. Kirk was a first round pick, and he started over Nick Patterson who they released, and he gave them the ability to trade Cosmo to Buffalo.
Meanwhile, Carlson went undrafted to the NLL. He is 24 years old and played in all 16 games and played 468Â minutes. Both of those guys led the Swarm to the playoffs in a year they were not expected to be a good team.
This season the only rookie goalie we will see is Tylr Glebe, who was drafted to Toronto. Will he play? Toronto has brought in Zak Boychuk to back up Rose, but they might be willing to give Glebe a shot as well.
What other good young goalies could we see as impact players? Frankie Scigliano saw some time with Calgary last season, and the Roughnecks might be willing to give him a shot if Poulin struggles. In Edmonton, Brodie MacDonald has already led the Langley Thunder to two WLA Championships, and he could see a shot in Edmonton. He will likely be the backup to Bold with Croswell now in Washington.
In Colorado, Levis is getting older and three goalies were brought in; Matt Roik, Dan Lewis and Tye Belanger. Roik struggled in Toronto last season and might not even make the team. Lewis and Belanger were there last year, and both of them could see some time.
Steve Fryer is in Philadelphia after they let go of Kurtis Wagar. He is in Buffalo along with Angus Goodleaf to back up Cosmo. The Bandits likely will stick with Cosmo till the end. Same with Rochester and Vinc, with an older backup in Jake Henhawk.
In Washington, Kevin Croswell did well when Richards was hurt, but it would take a lot to take that starting spot from him. In Minnesota, while they have two young studs, Zach Higgins could see some time as a young goalie as well.
A few years ago, young starting goalies was unheard of. But is young goalies becoming a new trend?