|Ryan Cousins chases Rush player Jimmy Quinlan in a game between Minnesota and Edmonton in March. (Codie Mclachlan/QMI Agency)
Meet an Edmonton team on the other end of the rebuilding spectrum.
While the Oilers spent the last few years loading up on picks and kids, the Rush are ready to win now, and loaded up for that quest in a big way Wednesday.
They added a two-time defensive player of the year to help at one end and a two-time 40-goal scorer to help at the other in a blockbuster trade with the Minnesota Swarm.
The Rush get defensive stalwart Ryan Cousins and sniper Aaron Wilson, as well as a goaltending prospect and a second-round draft pick in 2011 for Edmonton’s first-round pick (sixth overall) and fourth-round pick (31st overall) in 2011 and their second-round pick in 2012.
“In Ryan Cousins we have acquired a world-class player,” said Rush head coach and GM Derek Keenan. “He has long been a top defender in the NLL along with being a great leader. He also adds more speed and skill to our transition game.”
Cousins, who was the captain of the Swarm, will also provide experience and leadership. The 10-year veteran spent seven seasons in Minnesota, winning NLL Defensive Player of the Year honours in 2007 and 2008. The six-foot-one, 200-pounder has played in 128 regular-season games, scoring 31 goals and 47 assists and 172 loose balls.
Wilson, meanwhile, spent the last three seasons in Minnesota after playing six years in Toronto and helping the Rock win the 2005 Champion’s Cup. He set a career-high with 41 goals during that championship season and has totalled 24 points in seven playoff games.
“Aaron Wilson is the best off-ball offensive player in the NLL and a great finisher,” said Keenan. “So he will complement our terrific playmakers.”
The five-foot-eight, 180-pound forward had his most prolific season in 2010 when he reached the 40-goal plateau for a second time and set a career-high with 89 points. He had 23 goals and 34 assists last year.