July 9, 2014

MLL Blockbuster Trade: Crowley to Chesapeake

by Phil Shore | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

The Major League Lacrosse trade deadline was Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. The deadline came and went, with no trades announced.

Then at 5:10 p.m., the MLL tweeted a blockbuster move: The Bayhawks traded midfielders Steven Brooks, David Earl and Jon Hayes in exchange for a 2015 fourth-round draft selection and 2013 MLL MVP Kevin Crowley.

"We're both looking for a deal that could make us better," Chesapeake coach Dave Cottle said. "They felt they needed more numbers. We're last in the league in scoring."

The Bayhawks are at the bottom of the league standings with a 3-7 record and have scored a league-low 108 goals. They are only two games behind the Boston Cannons, however, for what would be the final playoff position.

The Launch is right above Chesapeake in the standings at 4-6 and lost four in a row (including an 18-11 loss to Chesapeake) but they are still very much in the playoff race, only one game behind Boston.

"We're hoping that's going to make the difference. We needed to mix things up. We were on a downhill skid," Florida coach Stan Ross said. "It's going to change the way we have offense and hopefully change the way we play defense."

Last year, Crowley was the MLL MVP with 38 goals (three two-point goals) and 14 assists for 55 points. His numbers aren't as dominant this year but in eight games played, he has 12 goals and five assists for 17 points.

He also played a number of years with current Bayhawk Joe Walters, who despite playing in only five games, leads Chesapeake in points (24) thanks to nine goals and 15 assists.

"Kevin, in his relationship with Joe, they played so well together. They have some chemistry there," Cottle said. "Put him with [Ben] Hunt, it gives you two really big kids. If you run him out with [Peet] Poillon and [Matt] Mackrides, then you have quick kids. It diversifies us a bit. It gives us size and speed. It will make us a better offensive team in the long term."

It will be Earl's third team this season after the Bayhawks had acquired him in a trade only a few weeks prior. In two games for the Bayhawks, Earl had scored two goals and added an assist, giving him six goals and three assists total.

Cottle said that he felt Earl was a key piece in bringing Crowley to Chesapeake.

"David Earl has done anything and everything we've asked," Cottle said. "This has been going on for a couple weeks. Florida has always wanted David Earl. We worked hard to get Kevin Crowley in the conversation."

For Florida, Ross said the addition of the trio will balance out the team more at both ends of the field.

"You have Earl and Brooks who are great feeders and dodgers," he said. "Now, we have a lot of lefty cutters for Casey [Powell] to feed. If Casey drives to his right, you have Brooks cutting the backside."

The addition of Hayes – who has played in only one game for the Bayhawks this season playing behind Jeff Reynolds and Dan Burns – gives the Launch a veteran defensive middie, which was crucial with Florida playing rookie Chris LaPierre and rookie Ryan Creighton needing surgery on an injured hip.

"He's a great D-middie and we had a guy who was hurt and he needs to fill that role," Ross said. "I didn't want to trade Kevin Crowley but the combination of the three and the direction we were going, we had to make that move."

Much like Ross didn't necessarily want to part with Crowley but was able to get what he said was three starters in exchange for one, Cottle had similar feelings with Brooks. He did say he felt it was the best move not only for his team, but for Brooks as well.

"Steven Brooks is a class kid. He's been a great guy. It was sickening to trade a guy like that," Cottle said. "Some games, he's not dressing. His wife is pregnant. I just wanted to make sure he could get a paycheck every week. Both Hayes and Brooks are going to get a chance to play and I couldn't guarantee that."


While the Bayhawks-Launch trade was the only one to occur on deadline day, one other trade was made in the past week. On July 2, the Ohio Machine acquired LSM Steven Waldeck and a 2015 seventh round collegiate draft pick to New York in exchange for a 2015 second round collegiate draft pick.

On the coaches call the day prior, Machine coach Bear Davis said the team might be looking for an LSM. Waldeck played in only four games for the Lizards, scoring once. He played in Ohio's 16-14 victory over Chesapeake two days after the trade.

"He's a team first guy that fits seamlessly," Machine president and GM John Algie said. "He has the physical presence we were lacking and his physicality was contagious."

However, the Machine wasn't done making additions to its roster. The league's highest scoring team added a little more offensive talent by adding midfielder Sam Bradman from the player pool.

Bradman previously played four games with the Rochester Rattlers, scoring three goals and adding one assist.

"Sam's a great offensive talent. He's got a ton of upside in this league. We want to get him in the mix," Algie said. "He seems excited. He knows a lot of the guys on the team already. He'll fit in well."


At 4:21 p.m. EST, New York Lizards coach Joe Spallina tweeted, "@MLL_Lacrosse trade deadline passes WE stand pat @LizardsLacrosse believe in our guys.answer is in our room! Let's Go" with a picture attached of Lizards that participated in the MLL All-Star Game.

A popular theory would be that because every team was still in the playoff race, every team would be looking to make a move to get that one guy to push them over the edge.

The adverse happened though. Because ownership felt their rosters had gotten them this far and still in the hunt, they could get to the playoffs as is.

"If you've got two teams looking for a difference maker but only wanting to give up draft picks, well the trade partner isn't going to want to trade a difference maker for just picks. That won't help them make the playoffs this year," Algie said.

The Charlotte Hounds front office and coaching staff has repeated throughout the year that the team plans to build a perennial contender through the draft. With so much youth gelling this late in the year and a 3-2 record after starting the season 1-4, Charlotte GM Wade Leaphart wanted to give his team the chance to continue to grow together.

"We like where we're at. We like this core group," he said. "There wasn't one player, midfielder or goalie that was going to tip us over."

Leaphart said that the rookies that came in the middle of the season had the same effect as a trade, adding some new blood and improving team play. He said that Justin Ward's arrival has helped the offense flow and added more assists, while guys like Michael Erhardt and Henry Lobb helped solidify the defense.

While Leaphart said he is happy with the direction his team is going in, it doesn't mean he didn't try to land a super star at the trade deadline.

"We've tried to find a good lefty attackman," he said. "I swung for the fences on a couple deals but no one was having it."

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