January 3, 2012

Wings Look for Big Changes to Pay Off

by Neil Stevens | LaxMagazine.com

Incumbents Drew Westervelt (above) and Brendan Mundorf have been joined in Philadelphia by No. 1 overall pick Kevin Crowley, former Boston captain Dan Dawson and Brodie Merrill.
© Larry Palumbo

Philadelphia Wings

2011 Record: 5-11

Offseason: Selected Dan Dawson with first pick in dispersal draft; traded for Brodie Merrill in blockbuster deal with Edmonton

Everything has changed in Philadelphia, beginning with ownership's decision to hand Johnny Mouradian control as the Wings general manager and head coach.

Mouradian snagged with the No. 1 entry draft pick Stony Brook All-American Kevin Crowley, who's been playing box lacrosse in British Columbia since he was old enough to ride a bike. It augmented a lineup already transformed by the trade for Merrill, Edmonton's captain and an all-world transition star, and the gift of Dawson, the Boston captain and 2009 NLL MVP. The potent trio will soar with newly-hired offensive coordinator Jim Milligan at the controls. Mix in incumbents Brendan Mundorf and Drew Westervelt, and this is a physically imposing unit that will be difficult to stop.

The Wings gave up Athan Iannucci and three first-round draft picks in the Merrill deal, but their offense was the NLL's weakest even with NLL's single-season goals record holder. Alex Turner also went to the Rush, but the Wings offset those losses by landing Mike McLellan and Dean Hill in the deal and by signing free agent Mike Hominuck.

Little has been done to upgrade a defense that allowed more goals than any other in the East in 2011, so there's a big question mark there. But Brandon Miller returns to give the Wings top-flight goaltending.

Insider's Take

"Dawson will have an immediate impact. He's a big body who supplies instant offense, and he leads by example. They got one of the best players in the game, and they got him for nothing."

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