(photo credit: NLL.com)
When the Boston Blazers first acquired Casey Powell, I thought they became the favorites in the East. When they acquired Josh Sanderson, I thought so even more. The Blazers certainly have what looks to be a powerhouse offense, with those additions along with Dan Dawson. But did the Blazers address their biggest need? And are there more teams to worry about in the East?
Looking at the Blazers roster up-to-down, it looks pretty solid. Along with their big three they have Scott Campbell, John Orsen, Greg Downing, Gary Bining, Kevin Buchanan, Sean Morris, and Dan Teat. Those are some pretty good complementary players to Sanderson, Dawson and Powell. And on the goaltending front, you cannot go wrong with Anthony Cosmo. So again, on paper this team looked solid.
I feel they did address their biggest problem, which was second half scoring. After teams would adjust to Dan Dawson, the Blazers did not have enough players to pick up the slack. They tried to fix this by acquiring Mat Giles, and he was ok, but he was also not their scoring solution.
By getting Powell and later Sanderson, that should solve the issue. Teams cannot double cover all three players. Especially Powell, who has had a history of good second halves.
While credit to Boston for improving the issue, Powell kind of fell right into their lap. Thanks to the Giles trade of the previous season, Boston was left with the #2 pick of the Titans dispersal. With Colorado snatching up Matt Vinc, Powell was left open for the Blazers. They did have to surrender a few players for Sanderson, but it was well worth getting the former MVP.
The rest of their additions look like good support players, like Dan Teat, who is 20th all time in NLL scoring. And then Kevin Buchanan, who looks to score a few goals.
But other teams are improving too. Toronto has a really solid roster, with Blaine Manning, Colin Doyle, Garret Billings and Wade LeBlanc. The Rock, I have always thought, would be able to contend with Boston. But with the recent additions of Rochester, the Knighthawks might jump into that mix. And it is not so much Vinc, as they always had Pat O'Toole in net.
But even with the loss of John Grant, they have Cody Jaimeson, Jordon Hall, Craig Point, Steve Toll, Shawn Evans, and Matt Zash. With a few more roster moves, they also have Brad Self and Matt Danowski.
So with the Knighthawks and Rock in the mix, that leaves the Blazers with some tough opponents. Back to the Blazers, is their still a weakness on this team? They improved their problems from last year, but that does not mean they won't have problems somewhere else.
I think the Blazers acquired some good defensive players with Orsen and Campbell, but they lost Paul Dawson, who is one of the best in the league. While those two may make up for the loss, the acquisition of Kyle Rubisch was supposed to as well. However he remains unsigned, and it is unknown if Boston will have to trade him.