Knighthawks continue move toward ‘bigger, faster, stronger, younger’ lacrosse

Forward Shawn Williams will give the Edmonton Rush a veteran presence on the left side. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
Forward Shawn Williams will give the Edmonton Rush a veteran presence on the left side. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

With 4 young forwards already forming a potent 2-2 punch from the right and left sides, the Rochester Knighthawks have added even more. In what team owner and general manager Curt Styres says is a move toward “bigger, faster, stronger and younger” lacrosse, the Knighthawks pulled the trigger on a trade with the Edmonton Rush to acquire new forwards in Alex Kedoh Hill and Andy Secore. Also in the trade is defender Ryan Cousins, considered by many one of the top defenders in the game when he isn’t balancing work commitments with an NLL schedule. The Knighthawks gave up captain Shawn Williams, long a fan favorite in Rochester for his production on the floor and cool demeanor off of it, along with backup goalie Aaron Bold and a second-round draft pick in 2012. ILIndoor first told you about this trade on Sunday, so let’s take a closer look at it.

So what’s this mean for the Rush? First, they’ve done significant upgrades to their offense. Earlier this offseason, they acquired Athan Iannucci to give them a veteran leader from the right side. Now they have a veteran stick on the left in Williams. The right side looks especially strong now with Nooch, last season’s leading scorer Corey Small and Scott Evans, another former Knighthawk.

What’s more, they have one of the NLL’s unheralded setup men in Aaron Wilson, acquired in a trade with Minnesota earlier this offseason. Josh Sanderson gets a lot of ink for his table-setting, and rightly so. But Wilson a very close No. 2 setup man in the NLL, if not a 1a with Sanderson.

And speaking of that trade with Minnesota, it’s what also brought Cousins to Edmonton. So he’ll move on without having played a game for the Rush, but the squad has a lot of depth on that end especially after working a trade with Buffalo to acquire Chris Corbeil and taking Kyle Rubisch in the Blazers dispersal draft.  Whatever unit ends up taking the floor in Edmonton, there’s going to be quite a battle in the cage to find out who the goalie’s going to be. Throwing Bold into the mix, he’ll compete with Brodie MacDonald, Kevin Croswell, Matt Disher, Brandon Atherton and Rob Blasdell, all of whom are on the team’s roster as of today with Bold, MacDonald and Croswell arriving via trades this offseason.

The Knighthawks obviously get some very real skill and potential with this move. Kedoh Hill was a rookie last year with a rather non-descript 5 goals and 6 assists in 9 games. But like draft pick Johnny Powless, there’s a bunch of potential in Kedoh Hill, a Junior A teammate of Powless at Six Nations. He’s a very slippery forward with the ball at the perimeter who creates his own space.

Secore is a very capable scorer from the left side and his 7 years of NLL experience brings a veteran leader to that side for Cody Jamieson and Powless. Cousins is a former Swarm captain and former NLL Defensive Player of the Year. He’s played just 14 games the last 2 seasons, but that’s mainly due to work. So if that issue is ironed out, the Knighthawks picked up a solid, solid defender who will add a bit of speed and tenacity to the back end.

When teams trade, they tell you they want a situation where both teams win. And by all accounts, this is one of those trades. Styres wants the Knighthawks to be younger and faster and they accomplished that by acquiring 3 players, 2 of them NLL veterans, who are in their 20s. The Rush, who admit they’ve been extraordinarily busy this offseason, say that despite all that they still wanted a veteran stick on the left side. And they got that with Williams. Edmonton and Rochester do not play each other during the regular season this year.

Chavez is an avid lacrosse player in Rochester and a journalist for the Democrat and Chronicle as well as a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at bob.chavez@nllinsider.com or go to RochesterSports.com.

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