Rig it so they all can stay

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:01 AM ET

Barring unforeseen developments, the 2009 Calgary Roughnecks could look much the same as the team that lost the West Division final Saturday night.

And that is OK with most of this group, especially general manager Kurt Silcott.

Over the final month of the National Lacrosse League season, the Riggers came together to win four straight outings before losing to the Portland LumberJax 16-12 in the second round of the playoffs.

Silcott would love to start the season with a healthy captain Tracey Kelusky and goalie Steve Dietrich, plus see what newcomer Josh Sanderson can do for a full campaign.

"If you could tell me I could bring back the same group, I would do it in a heartbeat," said Silcott, who shook things up midway through the season by trading leading scorer Lewis Ratcliff for Sanderson.

"If I could magically wave a wand and have it all done, I would go to the wall with these guys. We have a great group.

"You never know what will happen during the off-season. We have two first-round draft picks to play with, so we'll see what happens."

Before anything else can change, Roughnecks ow-ner Brad Banister has to decide if Silcott is his man.

"I will take a few days to sort it out, because I've been too busy with midget lacrosse right now," Banister said yesterday.

"Right now, Kurt will be coming back. We're going to obviously talk about how the season went. But I'm not ready to say one way or the other right now."

There is uncertainty heading into every off-season, but the Riggers expect their main nucleus of players to remain intact, including Dietrich, Toth, Kelusky, leading scorer Scott Ranger, all-star transition player Jeff Shattler and assistant captain Andrew McBride.

So there is plenty of optimism this team can challenge for a title next year.

"I have faith in our team, and we have everything we need," Toth said.

"Whether the coaches and GM think that, I'm not sure. But I think if we had the same team next year, we would have another good opportunity at a championship. You just have to wait and see what happens."

The only question marks are three defenders -- Bruce Codd, Greg Hinman and Chris Seller -- who were on loan from the Arizona Sting.

Silcott will do what he can to retain those players if a redispersal draft is needed because Arizona doesn't come back.

The Sting's fate will be decided by June 1.

The GM was also pleased with his coaching staff this season and how head coach Troy Cordingley dealt with the adversity of losing two of the team's best players to injury.

Cordingley would welcome a second chance with this club as well, although the playoff loss stings right now.

"It was a tough grind, but I really enjoyed being in the organization," Cordingley said.

"I know there is potential here. The players are classy guys, and I had a lot of fun.

"I feel really empty right now. Coming in, there was so much potential. It was a year that was so unplanned, but that is sports."


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