A look at the Roughnecks opposition, the Minnesota Swarm.
Last year, 14 players on the Minnesota Swarm were playing their rookie or sophomore season.
This year, they’ve somehow managed to get even younger.
After last season, the Swarm dealt of Ryan Benesch and Andrew Watt to the Buffalo Bandits, a pair of the elderstatesman on the Swarm despite still being in their 20s.
The Swarm decided to bring in four more first round draft picks onto their roster, including first overall draft choice Logan Schuss.
Using this arbitrary cutoff, the Swarm only have two players with more than five years of NLL experience. For comparisons sake, the Roughnecks have nine players with five years or more NLL experience.
It’s safe to say they were going through a youth movement.
But does it work?
Last season, the Swarm squeaked their way into the final playoff spot in the East Division, then dominated the veteran-laden Toronto Rock 20-11 in the East Division semi-final. They bowed out of the playoffs following a tough 12-10 decision to the eventual champions Rochester Knighthawks.
This year, the situation has been slightly tougher for the Swarm as they sit 1-4 on the season, last place in the NLL.
But the standings don’t tell the full story. Through five weeks, the Swarm have only played once at The Hive (Excel Energy Centre in St. Paul, MN). They have some of the most energetic fans in the league, and feed off the energy of the buzzing spectators.
“These two home games is exactly what we needed,” said assistant coach Aime Caines. “We’ve been on the road four out of our five games, so we’re looking forward to being at home the next two games.”
Three Players To Watch
1. Callum Crawford – The one-time Calgary Roughnecks player is the elder-statesman on the roster, and is notorious for putting up points against his former team. Last season, he only saw action in one of the two games, but still managed a hat trick and seven assists for 10 points.
2. Jordan MacIntosh – He’s one player that every coach in the league would want on their roster right now. He’s a force in transition with the hands to stay up on offense if needed. So far, he’s scored five goals and 16 points this season.
3. Logan Schuss – The younger brother of one-time Roughnecks player Carlton Schuss, the reigning first overall draft pick is off to a solid start. The lefty has fired seven goals and 13 points in the first five games of his NLL career.