Taking shape

TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

The picture got a lot clearer yesterday for Calgary Roughnecks fans eager to see what the 2005 version of the defending National Lacrosse League champions will look like. In compliance with NLL rules, the team released its pared down 23-man roster in the afternoon before taking to the floor in Calgary last night for its first of three practices this weekend.

Gone from last season are Ted Dowling, Tyson Leies and Rob Kirkby while Chris Gill, Andy Ogilvie and Calgary's Andrew Biers highlight the newcomers.

"I think we stack up very nicely," said Riggers GM Dave Bremner. "In terms of last year's roster, I think we're probably as strong if not a little bit stronger in terms of our overall team depth. When we get Taylor Wray (out with a broken leg) back in our lineup full time, I really expect some big things from this group."

The current roster is not final and more changes will likely occur before the team's season opener Jan. 1 in Denver against the Colorado Mammoth.

"We're still making some cuts and we feel very bad about that," said Bremner. "But that's the business we're in and we're in it to win and we have to pick the best people we think we can win with."

The battle for the backup goaltending position behind starter Curtis Palidwor was one of the most high profile this year. When the team released the roster yesterday, Chris Levis was originally on it and Morehouse was on the practice roster, leaving him open to be pursued by other teams.

Hours later, the team changed its mind, releasing Levis and moving Morehouse onto the 23-man list.

"It was a thing where we wanted to protect Matt Morehouse," said Bremner. "We definitely think he's the goalie of the future and our No. 1 pick this year and it was unfortunate for Chris but it became a numbers game. We had second thoughts and wanted to protect Matt so we put him back on the 23 and released Chris."

Bremner admitted he's still looking at other goaltenders -- including free agents Dwight Maetche and Andrew Leyshon, who was at practice last night.

"Are we looking for another goalie?," said Bremner. "Yes, we've had talks with a whole bunch of them.

"But that goes for other positions as well. We'll re-evaluate where we are after this weekend and see if there are things we need to address and take it from there.

"We still need to do some fine-tuning."

Among some notables named to the roster include Ryan Sharp, whom the Riggers selected with their first pick in the second round (19th overall). The team acquired the pick as part of the Rob Kirkby trade to Arizona.

Travis Gillespie, also acquired in the Kirkby deal, made the cut as did defender Ryan McNish, a Canadian Forces technician who played sr. B in Edmonton last year, and Rob Williams, acquired with the 20th pick in the Vancouver Ravens dispersal draft Wednesday.

Brad MacArthur, Calgary's main draw man, is on the team's protected list after the Riggers were unable to reach an agreement on a new contract with the 29-year-old. However, Bremner said he's not shopping the Oshawa, Ont., native around and still hopes to re-sign him.

"Are we looking to ship Brad? No. Will we entertain offers? Sure, just like we do for anybody," said Bremner. "(But) we hope to see Brad back in a Calgary Roughnecks uniform."

- - -

QUICK STICKS: The Colorado Mammoth bolstered their already high-octane offence by inking unrestricted free agent Dan Stroup yesterday.


Videos

Photos