January 3, 2012

Minnesota Starting Over, Faces Long Odds

The Swarm return just two forwards who scored more than 20 goals last season. Ryan Benesch is one.
© Larry Palumbo

by Neil Stevens | LaxMagazine.com

Minnesota Swarm

2011 Record: 8-9, lost to Washington in West semifinal

Offseason: Long-time general manager Marty O'Neill left the team

Yet another year without a playoff win led Swarm ownership to light a fuse and trade away defensemen Ryan Cousins, Jon Sullivan, Rory Smith and Nick Inch, crease threat Aaron Wilson and versatile veteran Sean Pollock.

Additions include standout goalie Anthony Cosmo, who may or may not still be around come opening night, via the dispersal draft, defenseman Jeff Gilbert in a trade with the Rock and a slew of draft picks.

The first round of the entry draft brought on board RIT All-American midfielder Jordan McIntosh. A Canadian with impressive indoor credentials, Minnesota picked McIntosh No. 4 overall, and then drafted Canadian goalie Evan Kirk out of Hobart. Kirk would back up either incumbent Nick Patterson or Cosmo.

The Swarm retained just two forwards who scored more than 20 goals — NLL scoring champion Ryan Benesch (46g, 49a) and Callum Crawford (27g, 43a). Factor in a gutted defense, and you'll find long odds for success.

Insider's Take

"A lot of us have been scratching our heads. Like, they trade three veterans to Edmonton, including the two-time defenseman of the year, for the No. 6 entry draft pick and use it to take a goalie who is third on the team's goaltending depth chart. What's with that?"

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