Blockbuster trade: Knighthawks send Rabil, Hall, White to Wings for Dawson brothers

Paul Rabil got his wish to be closer to home and was traded to the Philadelphia Wings. (Photo: Dan Brodie)
Paul Rabil got his wish to be closer to home and was traded to the Philadelphia Wings. (Photo: Dan Brodie)

One of the bigger questions for the Rochester Knighthawks heading into the 2013 National Lacrosse League season was whether or not Paul Rabil will play. And after the trade announced earlier this morning, we know Rabil will not be playing for the Knighthawks. At least not on the home side. The transition man was part of a blockbuster trade announced this morning. The Knighthawks send Rabil, Jordan Hall, Joel White, Robbie Campbell and a 2014 second-round draft pick to the Philadelphia Wings in exchange for forward Dan Dawson and defender Paul Dawson. The Knighthawks also get a first-round pick in 2016. And Rabil, who confirmed with IL this morning that he will play this season for the Wings, gets traded to a team closer to his Baltimore home where he can work easily with his business interests. What’s more, the trade comes on his 27th birthday.

“We’re happy as an organization,” Philadelphia GM and coach Johnny Mouradian told ILIndoor. “We think it’s a good opportunity for all the players. Paul and Dan are closer to home and the players that have are in our area. Paul is from Baltimore, Jordan is in Baltimore. Joel is moving to work in Connecticut and Robbie’s in Long Island. Geographically it’s a good trade for both teams. From a player standpoint it’s a win-win for both teams.”

Dan Dawson said he and his brother are excited.

“You talk about wanting to be part of a championship organization, and you start with Curt and everything he has done for the sport and for lacrosse in Rochester,” Dan told the team’s website. “Just to be part of the defending champs is an honor. Paul and I are super excited and will do everything we can to keep the Cup in Rochester.”

The shift in talent here is as big a trade as the NLL has seen in recent seasons. In the Dawsons, the Knighthawks get some very obvious offensive talent. Dan is a 6-foot-5 right-hander whose goals are a staple on highlight reels. But the veteran’s game has evolved in recent seasons to where he’s using his passing skills more effectively and more often. He’s had 70-plus assists in 2 of the last 4 seasons and has also scored more than 100 points, including 103 last year for the Wings. Paul is an effective and physical defender who isn’t afraid to drop the mitts.

Having Dan on the right side with Casey Powell, Craig Point, Kedoh Hill, Mike Accursi and Stephen Keogh gives the Rochester team tremendous balance to a left side that has Cody Jamieson, Cory Vitarelli, Joe Walters and Johnny Powless.

“It feels good,” Rochester coach Mike Hasen told Knighthawks.net. “They are talented players and are also character guys on the floor and in the locker room.”

In Hall, the Wings get a dynamic playmaker in Hall, who missed the second half of last season with a knee injury. But Hall has spoken recently of his rehab process and says it’s been going well. White brings a set of serious wheels to the transition game that remind some of former Knighthawk Chris Schiller. Interestingly, this trade brings the pair back together after Schiller signed last season with with Wings as a released free agent.

And in Rabil, the Wings get a stud of a transition man who many believe has a bright and perhaps even dominant future in indoor lacrosse. The Wings get closer to their desire of having more Americans on their roster, as well, and it’ll be interesting to see how Rabil is worked into the lineup on a team that already has a ton of transition speed in Brodie Merrill, Schiller, White and Max Seibald, among others. Will this trade push Seibald up top into a forward role?

“This trade allows us the opportunity to get the most recognizable player in the sport to join our team. Paul Rabil is in the prime of his career and plays a big part in our plans to get younger and more athletic,” Wings owner and team president Michael French told WingsLax.com. “Paul can play really any position on the field, with his speed and power.”

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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