(Photo credit: NLL.com)
The Knigthawks have missed the post season twice in a row now, including last year in heart breaking fashion. With Boston losing to Buffalo on the final week of the season, Buffalo would just have to beat Washington, who has nothing else to play for. But they lost, and finished 7-9. On the positive side, Rochester now has the number one overall pick in Cody Jaimeson and a new head coach. So now in the final NLL Preview, here are the Knighthawks.
As we always do, let's look at their leading scorers. Last season Rochester's top scorer was ranked 9th, and it was John Grant with 83 points. That was his least amount of points since 2004, when he played only five games. The previous three years he had scored 92, 111, and 97 points. Is this the first signs on decline for Grant?
Rochester's next top scorer is Shawn Williams, who ranked 20th in the NLL with 69 points. This was also a low scoring year for Williams, who averaged 82 goals with Rochester. Williams had spent the start of his career in Toronto and then Buffalo, and scored 77 goals in his first real chance to start. He took off when he went to Rochester, scoring over 100 points twice. But he may be on the decline too, like Grant, at age 36.
We are going to look at two more Knighthawks scorers; Shawn Evans and Craig Point. Point has been in the league for four years, and two with the Knighthawks. In his two years with Rochester he has 46 and 28 points, and his career high61 in his first year in Minnesota. He played only ten games the year he scored 28 points, so maybe he can build on next year to reach his full potential.
Shawn Evans has played in Rochester since 2006, scoring his carer high in points two years ago at 79. Last year he may have took a step back, scoring only 45 points, his career low other than his rookie season. The Knighthawks look for Evans to step up this season, and be what they thought he would.
The goaltenders. Pat O'Toole started most of the games for Rochester, and finished with a 11.26 GAA. Rochester's backup, Aaron Bold, did get into every game, but had 313:00 minutes compared to O'Toole's 650:21. Bold's 11.12 GAA actually ranks ahead of O'Toole. Bold was acquired from the Stealth before last season. In San Jose, his best season came in 2008 when he got into sixteen games and put up a GAA og 10.29. O'Toole has been a Knighthawk since 1999. His best year was in 2003, when he put up a 10.21 GAA.
What is my prediction for Rochester? I think they make the playoffs. They finish as the third seed. We didn't even talk about Cody Jaimeson, the Knigthhawk's first overall pick. Thank you for reading the NLL Preview Series!