NLL team-by-team capsules

TY PILSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:55 AM ET

WEST DIVISION

(WITH PROJECTED FINISH IN ORDER FROM FIRST TO LAST:)

SAN JOSE STEALTH

Last year: 9-7, first in the West. Lost 18-16 to Portland in first round of playoffs.

Notable additions: F Rhys Duch, T Paul Rabil, T Travis Gillespie, G Matt Roik, head coach Jeff Dowling.

Notable departures: F Gary Rosyski, F Luke Wiles, G Anthony Cosmo.

The skinny: Jeff Dowling, who served as an assistant coach with the Roughnecks and interim head coach to finish off the 2007 season after Chris Hall was fired, takes over as head coach of the Stealth this season. Dowling replaced Walt Christianson, another former Roughnecks assistant coach. Dowling then brought Hall on board to serve as an assistant for him and traded for Rigger transition threat Travis Gillespie ... Jeff Zywicki (48 goals, 90 points: Fourth in league scoring) and Colin Doyle (27 goals, 88 points: Fifth in league scoring) are one of the best -- if not top -- one-two offensive punches in the league ... Traded G Anthony Cosmo in the off-season to Chicago Shamrox (later acquired by the expansion Boston Blazers with first-overall pick in Shamrox dispersal draft.)

CALGARY ROUGHNECKS

Last year: 7-9, third in the West. Beat Colorado 15 -13 in first round of playoffs, lost 16-12 to Portland in West final.

Notable additions: F Cayle Ratcliff, D Mike Kilby, F Kyle Goundrey.

Notable departures: F Kelly Hall, D Ryan McNish, G Steve Dietrich.

The skinny: The team enters its second season under head coach Troy Cordingley. His pressure defence relies on speed and system play and suffered at times last year as his new charges struggled to learn it and keep up the required all-out intensity for a full 60 minutes ... Captain Tracey Kelusky enters the season healthy after missing parts of last year suffering from a concussion ... The club's offence is expected to be one of the top in the league again this year. Josh Sanderson, one of the best passers in the NLL, has settled in with his new teammates after being dealt late last season from Toronto in exchange for Lewis Ratcliff. Sanderson has incredible floor vision and plenty of goalscorers to get the ball to in Kelusky, Kaleb Toth, Scott Ranger, Curt Malawsky and sophomore fellow southpaw Dane Dobbie ... G Steve Dietrich was traded to the Edmonton Rush in the off-season. Pat Cambell will be the new starter in Calgary, backed up Matt King.

COLORADO AVALANCHE:

Last year: 9-7, second in the West. Lost 15-13 to Calgary in first round of the playoffs.

Notable additions: F Gary Rosyski, F Matt Danowski, G Andrew Leyshon

Notable departures: F Jason Wulder, T Josh Sims, D Jim Moss, D Pat Coyle, G Chris Levis

The skinny: Always a contender in the West, the Mammoth are still the league's model franchise for the way it's combined on-floor and off-floor success. The team routinely sells out the Pepsi Center and draws the most fans each season. The team had a 6-2 record at home last year ... Captain Gavin Prout finished tied for second in league scoring last season with 25 goals and 92 points. He headlines a dynamic offence featuring Dan Carey, Brian Langtry, Jamie Shewchuk and newcomers Rosyski and Danowski ... Lost solid backup Levis in the off-season, who signed in Edmonton as a free-agent.

MINNESOTA SWARM

Last year: 10-6, second in the East. Lost 11-8 to New York in first round of playoffs.

Notable additions: F Kevin Buchanan, D Kevin Fines

Notable departures: F Andy Secore, D Ian Rubel

The skinny: The Swarm were moved from the East into the West to balance the divisions after Boston was awarded an expansion franchise. However, the Chicago Shamrox later suspended operations in November ... Minnesota lost its top scorer, Andy Secore, in the official Arizona Sting dispersal draft. Secore -- who was picked up by the Edmonton Rush -- led the Swarm in scoring last season with 28 goals and 78 points, good for 13th in league points. The team will rely heavily on youngster Craig Point and veteran Ryan Ward to pick up the slack with Secore gone.

EDMONTON RUSH

Last year: 4-12, fifth in the West. Missed the playoffs.

Notable additions: F Andy Secore, F Jason Wulder, F Callum Crawford, D Scott Self, D Ryan McNish, G Steve Dietrich, G Chris Levis

Notable departures: F Ben Prepchuk, F Kyle Goundrey, T Cam Bergman, G Curtis Palidwor.

The skinny: Rush owner Bruce Urban was expecting last season to be a turnaround year for his club which would see it make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Instead, it struggled out of the gate leading Urban to fire GM/coach Paul Day and hire former Sting bench boss Bob Hamley, who started to make his mark on the club immediately. In the off-season, he overhauled the roster, giving Edmonton the highest turnover of any team from last season ... Lack of scoring has plagued the Rush since Day 1, and that's doubtful to change this year. Hamley made no secret of trying to land the No.-1 Sting dispersal pick from expansion Boston this summer so he could select superstar Dan Dawson. Boston kept the pick and took Dawson instead. Newcomer Andy Secore has the potential to become a star after a breakout season last year, when he scored 28 goals and 78 points ... The Rush picked up G Steve Dietrich and D Ryan McNish in off-season trades with the Roughnecks.

PORTLAND LUMBERJAX

Last year: 6-10, fourth in the West Division. Beat San Jose 18-16 in first round of playoffs, beat Calgary 16-12 in West final, lost to Buffalo 14-13 in Champion's Cup.

Notable additions: F Dan Stroup, D Luke Forget

Notable departures: F Dan Dawson, D Ray Guze, D Mike Kilby, G Dallas Eliuk

The skinny: The Lumberjax picked the right time to peak last season, sneaking into the playoffs with the fourth seed before dumping San Jose and Calgary and coming up just a few goals short of beating the Bandits in Buffalo. The biggest reason: Dan Dawson. The tall righty scored 15 goals and 31 points to lead all post-season scorers. Dawson, who was on loan for a year, went back into the pot for the Arizona Sting dispersal draft and was snatched up by the expansion Boston Blazers.

EAST DIVISION

BUFFALO BANDITS

Last year: 10-6, first in East. Beat Philadelphia 14-12 in first round of playoffs, beat New York 19-12 in East final, beat Portland 14-13 in Champion's Cup.

Notable additions: F Sean Greenhalgh, F Cody Jacobs, T Tom Montour.

Notable departures: F Brett Bucktooth, F Delby Powless, T Pat McCready, D Kyle Laverty.

The skinny: According to the league website, the Bandits are returning a league-high 19 players this season. Powless and Bucktooth are out with injuries, but the addition of Greenhalgh and Jacobs should make up for that ... John Tavares, the league's all-time leading scorer, had an off-year by his standards last season, finishing seventh in scoring with 29 goals and 87 points. Still, Johnny T remains one of the elite players in the NLL.

TORONTO ROCK

Last year: 7-9, sixth in the East . Missed the playoffs.

Notable additions: F Luke Wiles, F Jason Crosbie, F Bill McGlone, F Josh Wasson, T Stephen Hoar.

Notable departures: F Aaron Wilson, T Jim Veltman.

The skinny: After a dismal season of bad play and reported discontent in the locker-room, the storied Rock franchise looks to return to its spot among the league's top teams this year. Captain Veltman retired leaving a massive hole. Veltman could do it all and is considered the best all-around player in league history. Also gone is right creaseman Wilson. However, Wiles, Crosbie, McGlone and Wasson inject some new blood into what was a stagnant offence at times last season. Former Roughnecks sniper Lewis Ratcliff, acquired in a trade with Calgary that sent playmaker Josh Sanderson to the Riggers, is expected to lead the attack along with Edmonton native Blaine Manning ... Veteran G Bob Watson was his usual incredible self last season, finishing the third-best GAA in the league at 10.34 and a .786 save percentage.

NEW YORK TITANS

Last year: 10-6, third in the East. Beat Minnesota 11-8 in first round of playoffs, lost to Buffalo 19-12 in East final.

Notable additions: F Jamie Rooney, D Dave Stilley, head coach Ed Comeau.

Notable departures: F Jeff Ratcliffe, D Jamie Hanford, D Matt Alrich.

The skinny: The Titans turned a lot of heads with their performance last season. The club boasts a powerful offence, led by American Casey Powell. The oldest of the Powell boys, Casey had a breakout NLL season last year with 32 goals and 86 points. There were worries Powell would sit out this season, unable to agree on terms for a new contract with the Titans. However, he signed late last week in time for the team's home-opener. Powell leads an attack that includes Pat Maddalena, Ryan Boyle, Jordan Hall, Mike McLellan and Brendan Mundorf.

ROCHESTER KNIGHTHAWKS

Last year: 8-8, fifth in the East. Missed the playoffs.

Notable additions: F Gary Gait, F Aaron Wilson, F Joe Walters, D Kyle Laverty, head coach Paul Gait.

Notable departures: F John Grant Jr., F Scott Evans, T Stephen Hoar.

The skinny: The K-Hawks have more juicy storylines on the go than your average episode of The Young and Restless. First it was learned stars John Grant Jr. and Scott Evans (who finished T2 and 12th in league scoring, respectively) would both miss the season with knee injuries. After missing the playoffs last season, it looked like it was going to be a very long season in Rochester. Not content to write off the season, the K-Hawks traded a couple of first-round picks to acquire the rights to NLL legend Gary Gait, and then signed the Syracuse women's lacrosse coach who came out of retirement after sitting two seasons. Then during training camp, new coach Paul Suggate resigned abruptly and Gait's twin brother, Paul, was named coach. The addition of Gary -- along with Aaron Wilson who was picked up in a trade with Toronto -- should lessen the impact of losing Grant and Evans for the season.

PHILADELPHIA WINGS

Last year: 10-6, fourth in the East. Lost 14-12 to the Buffalo Bandits in the first round of the playoffs.

Notable additions: F Kyle Wailes, F Mat Giles

Notable departures: F Athan Iannucci, F Jake Bergey, F Jamie Rooney, F Jason Crosbie, T Jon Christmas, D Peter Jacobs.

The skinny: The Wings have a major hole to fill with the loss of Athan Iannucci to injury. A.I. set a new single-season scoring record last year with 71 goals and led the league in points with 100. Toss in the departures of Bergey, Rooney and Crosbie, and things look bleak for the Wings offensively ... Calgary native Geoff Snider is a key cog to the Wings. The top faceoff man in the league, last year's all-star game MVP is also one of the most feared fighters. He can play defence or offence as well as special teams, making him the total package.

BOSTON BLAZERS

Last year: Expansion team

Notable additions: F Dan Dawson, F Daryl Veltman, G Anthony Cosmo

Notable departures: Not applicable.

The skinny: The Blazers hit the dispersal jackpot twice, first picking up Dan Dawson. One of the elite forwards in the league, Dawson was 10th in league scoring with 38 goals and 81 points for the Portland Lumberjax last season. The Blazers then got lucky again, grabbing all-star goalie Anthony Cosmo with the first pick in the Chicago Shamrox expansion draft. However, after that, things get thin, as with all expansion teams. In a tough East Division, the Blazers are a longshot -- make that a way, way longshot -- to make the playoffs.


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