HUGE TRADE (not hockey)

The Edmonton Rush have made a blockbuster deal. They’ve traded the best all-around player in the league, Brodie Merrill along with lefty Dean Hill,  righty Mike Mclellan a 5th rounder in 2011 and a 4th rounder in 2013 to the Philadelphia Wings for Athan Iannucci (set NLL record holder for most goals in a season, 71), young lefty Alex Turner, goalie Brodie McDonald and first round picks in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

I know this is a hockey site, but this is a massive deal for Lacrosse fans, and it is a bit strange that is happens 23 years later to the day that the Oilers traded/sold Wayne Gretzky to the LA Kings.

No one is Gretzky, but Merrill is widely considered the best player in the Lacrosse. For you non-lacrosse fans this would be like trading Pavel Datsyuk for Steven Stamkos. Great two-way player for a pure goal scorer.

Iannucci, 29, is a pure goal scorer, and for the first time in franchise history the Rush will have an offence that the opposition will fear. He set the NLL single-season record for most goals in a season with 71 in 2008. He suffered a serious knee injury late in the 2009 season that forced him to miss then entire 2010 campaign. He came back last year, and after a slow start, he ended up scoring 29 goals in 13 games.

The bigger part of the deal for the Rush might be the three first-round picks. 2012 is regarded as the deepest draft in NLL history, equal to the 2003 draft of the NHL, and the Rush now has two of the top-ten picks in 2012.

Dealing Merrill, 30 in November, is a risk of course. He is the best all-around player in the game. He is great in transition, a good passer, tough as nails and he’s a leader. His leadership will be the hardest to replace. He challenged his teammates to play better and he always took pride in his game.

The Rush’s right side of Iannucci, Scott Evans, Ryan Ward and Aaron Wilson will produce some big numbers and with Zach Greer and Corey Small on the left side they finally possess a legitimate offensive attack.


Mclellan wasn’t going to play on the right side in Edmonton, while Hill, good stick around crease on PP, was 4th or 5th on the LW depth chart.

Turner is a wildcard right now. He only played in eight games his first two season, split between San Jose and Minnesota, but last year he tallied 17 goals and 39 points in 16 games with the Wings. He is more of a crash and bang type player, and he will bring some size to the left side.

McDonald, 22,  is 6’7" and 255 pound goaltender. He moves well for a big man and he is currently up for rookie of the year in the WLA. The Rush need some depth in net,  and adding McDonald was a smart move in this deal.

Trading Merrill is a tough decision, but with all the picks and the pieces involved this deal reminds me of the Eric Lindros trade. The Rush is getting a proven scorer and three top-ten draft picks and two prospects who might pan out, while the Wings get the superstar.

In Lacrosse circles this is a blockbuster trade.

(I know this is a hockey site, but this is a big deal, so save yourself the time  posting whiny about why you had to read this on a "hockey" site. I know many hockey fans that appreciate Lacrosse as well.) 

  • #94 sized hole where my heart used to be...

    Thanks gregor for the nice breakdown of this blockbuster, I myself play junior Lacrosse (i tweeted you and Wanye about my Junior B team winning provincials this year) and ya this is one crazy deal for sure, i really liked Brodie Merrill but i have to admit my knowledge on non-Rush players in the NLL is lacking so if Iannucci is as talented as the stats show then I’m really excited about this trade

  • Shapeman

    Wow. The way you always talked about Merril and the way he played the game, this really shocks me.
    Do you think the Rush will make it back to the playoffs this year again, Gregor? More moves to come perhaps?

    • Jason Gregor

      It is a shock, but this is a solid trade. You can’t win consistently in the NLL without a balanced offence and the Rush has that now.

      With the addition of Evans last year, Wilson earlier this summer and now Iannucci I think the Rush will be back in the playoffs and challenging for a home playoff date.

      The picks are the big bonus…they should get two excellent players in next year’s draft.

  • Jason Gregor

    Awesome!! I love reading about Lacrosse on

    Also, what’s the update with the Edmonton Energy these days???

    Okay, I apologize – I just miss our Oilers.

    Please write something Oil, anything Oil… I’ll even take an article about whats new with Daryl Katz kid – the one who’s lives all our dream life!!!

    GO OIL GO!!!

  • Jason Gregor

    Sorry Jason, I can’t help it.

    You’re easily the best on air radio host in all of Edmonton by a country mile but a lacrosse post on this website?

    What’s next, a detailed breakdown of your eyeglass collection and a photo gallery of your clothes closet?


    • Jason Gregor

      Actually I just had a spread in the Edmonton journal about my closet, which clearly you liked!

      This is a big story, and I felt it was necesary. That’s the perk of being a writer here, I can decide what I write. And you can decide whether you read it or not…

      Glad you liked the article on Merrill and my closet…

    • #94 sized hole where my heart used to be...

      at the ages Datsyuk and Stamkos are at now ya maybe, but the palyers in this lacrosse deal were 29 and 30, if Datsyuk and Stamkos today were the same age but had the same skill sets they had today who would you rather have straight uP? i’d take Datsyuk anyday

  • Ninjai

    I’ve always been meaning to go see the Rush. I mean Lacrosse IS Canada’s national (summer) sport right?! After reading this it just makes me want to go even more.

    Dumb question: when is the lacrosse season?

    Thanks for the breakdown of the deal and the comparisons to hockey, really helped to see what kind of blockbuster deal this is.

    Also, I too would trade Datsyuk for Stamkos.

  • #94 sized hole where my heart used to be...

    Initially I don’t like when you trade that kind of leadership away. Rush Fan is going to be very upset and are already leery about ponying up for another year of season tickets (or at least my small group is).

    I am a season ticket holder for the last 4 seasons now and want to support the team but it will take some time to wrap my head around all the trades around the last several seasons. Every year it seems that this is going to be the year…

  • RLH

    Count me in as another hockey fan interested in lacrosse, but woefully uninformed.

    It seems to me that the game is more punishing than hockey, purely because of the increases opportunities for leg injuries. My question is, is this true, and what is considered to be an old lacrosse playing age?

  • RLH

    Good trade for the Rush. Merril is a fantastic transition player but there’s a lot of good young defenders coming up through the Junior loops in Canada that can help on that end of the floor.

    And you just don’t get players the calibre of Iaanucci every day. He can get 5+ goals a game and the Rush desperately need that sort of offense.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    I don’t follow the Rush as much as I would like to, but they seem to make a lot of major trades and seem to always be looking at bright future. When is this going to happen?

    Outside of 1 year they have sucked. How much longer can they afford to being a bottom team in this market?