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.)