Thursday, September 16, 2010

NLL Preview Calgary Roughnecks

The Roughnecks are an interesting case. Two years removed from their NLL championship, they still look like one of the favorites in the west. They may even be the favorite, but they have Washington to worry about in that division. The Rougnecks finished second in the west last season, but were defeated at home by Edmonton in the first round. They look to improve off of that, and take another step forward this season.
The Roughnecks had one of the best offseasons in the NLL this year. They acquired Geoff Snider, Paul Dawson, and Daryl Veltman. But with those acquisitions came a loss. The 2009 Champions Cup MVP and NLL leading scorer last season, Josh Sanderson.
Sanderson was shipped out to Boston in offseason, leaving the Roughnecks with Veltman and Kyle Ross (who was later acquired by Toronto). But the trade of Sanderson is certainly not waving the white flag for the season. As we saw with the Colin Doyle trade, sometimes trading your superstar player can really help an organization, and change their approach.
The Roughnecks were certainly represented in the top twenty scorers, but that was mostly from Sanderson, who is now in Boston. So a lot of that scoring will have to be made up. Some of it will be, with Veltman and Snider now, but it will take a lot to make up that much production. The Roughnecks next top scorer was Dane Dobbie at 15th with 80 points. And after that was Tracey Kelusky, who missed time last season due to a concussion. But remember Veltman, who played all season with Boston, had 65 points last season. And Geoff Snider had 41 points. None of it exactly makes up Sanderson, but they still have the pieces to be a scoring productive team.
Matt King was starting goaltender for Calgary most of the season, but Mike Poulin contributed as well. Poulin's GAA was 9.79 while King's was 11.27. I imagine they will stick with that tandem, but I would not be surprised to see Poulin as their starting goaltender.
I imagine the Roughnecks to finish in the top two in the West. Either they or Washington will win the division. I think the Roughnecks may even have the pieces to win it all.

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