Thursday, August 26, 2010

NLL Preview: Toronto Rock

The NLL Draft will be soon upon us. The NLL season is now only a few months away, and it's time to preview them.

The Toronto Rock finished in second place in the East last season and made it to the Champions Cup where they were defeated by the Washington Stealth. Key players for the Rock last season were rookies Garret Billings and Stephen LeBlanc, an then of course Colin Doyle, Blaine Manning and Sandy Chapman. But what will the Rock look like this year?
The Rock lost the division to the Orlando Titans. While they may not be in the league any more, expect the Boston Blazers to have a strong season. If the Rock want to compete, they will need those players and others to contribute. With Bob Watson getting older, the Rock will need a new "rock" in net. They already have Steve Dietrich, but can he step in and be the everyday goaltender? Or will the Rock go via the draft to find a new goaltender? They may still keep Watson on the roster, but he can not do everyday what he used to. I expect them to draft a young goalie to learn under Watson and Dietrich.
The Rock made a questionable deal this off-season, trading veteran defense man Scott Campbell to Boston for a second round draft pick. The Rock, however, did try to fill that void by attempting to sign restricted free agent defensemen Paul Dawson, Kyle Ross and John Orsen. They failed at the first two, but have a shot at Ross. The contract would make him one of the highest paid NLL defensmen, but he is not as good as Campbell.
In the dispersal draft this year, the Rock picked up attack man Mike McLellan. A great pick up, it adds a ton of scoring depth for an already high-powered Rock offense. Garret Billings was rookie of the year last season, and I just expect for him and LeBlanc to keep getting better.
I see the Blazers as the East champions, but the Rock are going to have a good shot at it too.

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