The Colorado Mammoth acquired faceoff specialist Bob Snider via trade from the Vancouver Stealth in exchange for Ilija Gajic. (Photo: Jack Dempsey)
The Colorado Mammoth have acquired faceoff specialist Bob Snider via trade from the Vancouver Stealth in exchange for transition player Ilija Gajic pending league approval.
Snider has a 68% career winning percentage in the faceoff circle. The 27-year-old recorded nine points (5+4), 169 loose balls and went 61% on the draw last year.
“It was a tough decision, having to say goodbye to a genuinely great person in Ilija,” said Mammoth president and general manager Steve Govett. “That said, we couldn’t pass on the opportunity to get Bob.”
Snider’s 262 faceoff wins, and his faceoff winning percentage, were second-best in the NLL in 2013. Only his brother, Calgary Roughnecks transition player Geoff Snider, eclipsed Bob’s marks. Bob’s 169 loose balls were fourth-most in the NLL and 68 more than any Mammoth player this past season.
“It was a difficult decision to trade Bob to the Mammoth," said Stealth general manager Doug Locker. "We are extremely grateful for his time and effort he put forth on our behalf during his time with the Stealth. We certainly wish him all the best in his career moving forward.”
Colorado won 158 total faceoffs in 2013 with just a 36% clip. Based on Snider’s faceoff winning percentage last season, Colorado would have won 112 more with him in the lineup.
“Seven more possessions per game,” explained Govett. “That’s also seven less times that our opponent has the ball. This offseason, our focus has and will continue to be about adding players that will fill roles to win games.”
The team hasn’t had a dominant faceoff presence since Jamie Hanford’s last season in Colorado in 2007. Hanford won 64% of his draws in his five-year Mammoth career.
Snider, a Calgary, Alberta native, compiled a 75% faceoff winning percentage and 32 loose balls in two games against Colorado last season.
The 28-year-old Gajic recorded six assists, 77 loose balls and 43 penalty minutes in 12 games last season. Gajic was the second overall pick of the 2009 NLL Entry Draft.
In his four seasons with the Mammoth, Gajic appeared in 53 regular season games, recording 28 goals and 34 assists for 62 points while grabbing 356 looseballs. He played two playoff games for the Mammoth recording two goals and one assist to go along with 11 looseballs.
Part way through the 2012 season, Gajic took over primary faceoff duties and had huge success by winning 116 of 231 draws. Taking faceoffs was a new role for Gajic but he accepted the challenge and it's now an important aspect of his game. In 2012, he also collected five goals, 11 assists and led the Mammoth in looseballs with 124.
“[Gajic] brings leadership qualities," said Stealth head coach Chris Hall. "He’s gritty and can play anywhere, which is very valuable in our league."
Gajic has demonstrated an ability to show up in big games and Stealth head coach Chris Hall believes Gajic’s skill set will fit perfectly in Vancouver.
The Burnaby, B.C. native, who played three collegiate seasons with the University of Denver, will now have the opportunity to play professional lacrosse close to home and in front of friends and family.
“We are excited to be able to add a player of Ilija’s caliber to our team," Locker said. "He is not only an exceptional lacrosse player, but a fantastic leader and a fierce competitor. It’s also very special to have Ilija come back to Vancouver to represent his home this coming NLL season with the Stealth.”