Thursday, September 23, 2010

NLL Preview Minnesota Swarm

The Swarm had a very disappointing year, going 5-11 but making the playoffs due to Colorado's horrendous season. But Minnesota could not have been happy with their efforts as they try to regain their form again.
Minnesota barely made the playoffs, losing their last six games of their season, they made it only when Colorado lost their second to last game of the season. It's no surprise either, they were tied for the worst goals again est average in the league. Both their goaltenders, Nick Patterson and Eric Croswell, had GAA's over 12.
One of the bright spots in the Swarm season was the play of Callum Crawford. Crawford had bounced around in his first five seasons, playing on five different teams. His 96 points were his career high by a large margin, his previous high being 41 the season before. It was also the first time Crawford had played a full season, playing only 13 games before with Edmonton, and before that 12, 13, and 5 games per season. The Swarm look for Crawford to continue off his breakout season and be their catalyst on offense.
The next leading scorer for Minnesota was Ryan Benesch. Benesch scored 81 points in his first year in Minnesota, also a career high for him. His previous high had been 58 in his rookie year with Toronto. The Swarm also acquired Benesch from Edmonton, was traded for Ryan Ward, who turned out to be Edmonton's leading scorer. Benesch had been traded from Toronto to Edmonton previous of that.
The Swarm's next leading scorer is Tim Campeau, with 48 points. Acquired from Portland in the dispersal draft, Campeau scored twenty more points than the previous year and picked up 51 more loose balls.
I'm going to look at one more player here from Minnesota, one I expect big things from in the future. Zack Greer was just a rookie last season, and played in 13 games and picked up 13 points. Greer is one of the top scorers on the MLL's Long Island Lizards, and I think a big year may in the waiting for Greer in Minnesota.
Minnesota had enough scoring to go by. In fact, they scored more than Edmonton, Boston, and Buffalo, who all made the playoffs with a better record. But their issue once again leads to goaltending. They gave up 201 goals on the year. Nick Patterson was 13th in the league in goals against. His save percentage was the third lowest in league, only Andrew Leyshon and Matt King was a lower save percentage. Patterson has been a long time member of the Swarm, coming over from the Vancouver Ravens in 2005. In that time period his best GAA was in 2006 when he had a 10.16 GAA, and the year after that it was 10.88. Patterson has been good in the past, but his GAA has gone up every year since then. But the one thing that stands out about Patterson is his playoff numbers. His career GAA in the playoffs is 14.01. His save percentage is only .713. And he has never had a playoff win, holding a record of 0-4.
I really think the Swarm can make the playoffs again, but they need an all around better year from their goaltenders.

The next and final preview: Buffalo

No comments:

Post a Comment