Tuesday, September 14, 2010

NLL Preview: Washington Stealth

The NLL season is now only a few months away, and it's time to preview them.

The Stealth won their first ever championship last season, defeating the Toronto Rock in the Champions Cup. The Stealth held the best record all season, and when threatened by teams like Edmonton and Calgary, they hung on. The Stealth got clutch production all season long, and look like the favorites again in the west going into 2011.
The Stealth season started with one of their biggest trades in franchise history, trading Colin Doyle to Toronto for Lewis Ratcliff. Ratcliff responded to the move by becoming the second leading scorer in the NLL.
The Stealth had plenty of scorers in the top twenty along with Ratcliff, Rhys Duch, and Jeff Zywicki, who they just traded to Edmonton.
The Stealth played their first season in Washington as an up and coming team. They had made the playoffs the previous year, but were still under .500. The Roughnecks looked like the team to beat in the west. And many people were stunned when the Stealth traded Doyle, the face of the franchise for so long. The Stealth came out of the gate strong, and continued it until the end to win their championship.
The Stealth look a little different this year, trading away Jeff Zywicki and acquiring Jeff Moelski. But the Stealth don't look to let up, as they still have Paul Rabil, Cam Sedgewick, and Brian Carroll. Also in the mix is playoff hero Mike Grimes, a defensman.
The Stealth put a lot on young goaltender Tyler Richards last season, and he delivered. Richards, the Stealth's third round pick in 2007, was spending his third year in the league and was looking to make a big leap. Richards spent time as the Stealth's backup in 2009, playing in ten games with a save percentage of .803%. He was 3-1 that season. The Stealth named him their starting goaltender in 2010, and Richards played in every game. He went 5-4 with a .771%. Though Richards did not rank high in the goaltender rankings, he won the world championship.
The Stealth are one of the favorites again this season, keeping much of their team together.

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