Most general managers with staying power often talk about trying to make deals that help both sides rather than constantly trying to rip off counterparts. Make a fair swap and the rest of the league will be more willing to deal with you in the future.
Few trades have been as mutually beneficial as the blockbuster the Toronto Rock and Washington Stealth pulled off last December.
The Rock returned captain Colin Doyle to the fold, while Washington received ex-50-goal-man Lewis Ratcliff, talented rookie forward Joel Dalgarno and bruising defenceman Tyler Codron.
The two teams will meet Saturday in Everett,
Wash., for the National Lacrosse League’s Champion’s Cup and make no mistake, neither side would likely be there without having pulled off that pre-season deal.
“Am I surprised that both teams are in the finals ... no,” Rock head coach Troy Cordingley said on Monday.
“The trade helped both teams. We knew that going in. Lewis was a big piece of this team last year. He’s probably the best natural goal scorer (in the NLL).”
Ratcliff led the league with 46 goals and was second to Calgary’s Josh Sanderson with 97 points.
“Joel Dalgarno, we really liked him, we knew we had to give something up that had a bright future, and that was him,” Cordingley said, adding that Codron is an excellent defender.
But on the other hand, with Doyle, three times the championship game’s MVP, the Rock returned its heart and soul and has not looked back.
“For us to get Colin back ... he’s a big-time player,” Cordingley said. “As good as he is on the floor he’s even better in the dressing room.”
Cordingley, the reigning NLL coach of the year and the leading candidate for this year’s award after helping to turn around the floundering Rock franchise, credited Doyle and the team’s other veterans for making his job easier.
“It’s nice to have the presence of veterans to share the wealth,” he said.
“Those guys have been through the wars, battled and been through championship games. Their leadership has been phenomenal. They have been in younger guys’ ears.”
All the way to the title match, just how the Stealth and Rock executives drew it up back in December.