Whether your team is a buyer, seller or sitting put, the landscape of the league changes in one way or another every year during NLL Trade Deadline Day.
It is fact that few non-game moments in an NLL season are more exciting, more nerve-wracking, more unpredictable than the those as the hours, minutes and seconds tick down to the deadline which is Tuesday, March 15 at 12pm ET.
What makes this time of year so fun to watch is that each year is unique. Some years there’s a bevy of deals that gone down at the wire and others are rather quiet, but it’s the uncertainty of what might happen that has eyes glued to the transaction wire. And sometimes, it’s the deal(s) that weren’t made at the deadline that are more surprising.
Another interesting aspect about deadline deals is that you might see a deal that could benefit a team long-term or it could give a team immediate success that could help a team in their final push to enter the postseason or compete for an NLL Championship.
We have no idea what to expect on Tuesday’s deadline day, but if history tells us anything, we can expect the rumour mill to be buzzing and hopefully see a few big-time deals get completed.
These are some of the most memorable deadline deals that have gone down in recent NLL history:
Logan Schuss Traded From Minnesota Swarm to Vancouver Stealth For Johnny Powless (2015)
There are few deadline deals that occurred in the last 10 years that had more of an impact on each team’s success and identity than the Schuss for Powless swap.
In 2014, Schuss was named NLL Rookie of the Year and was named to the All-Rookie Team following his 73-point inaugural NLL campaign with the Swarm. His 36 goals that season are still tied for the 6th-most goals by a rookie in NLL history.
That season, Powless also had a career-year. His 53-points in his 3rd season of NLL action are still 2nd-most in his career. On top of that, Powless’ team, the Rochester Knighthawks went on to win the NLL Champion’s Cup in 2014, completing their three-peat of titles, all of which Powless was a part of.
However, despite the equaled success of these two elite, young players, the teams could not have been in more opposite positions in the standings. By year’s end as the Knighthawks were lifting the most-coveted NLL hardware, the Swarm were sitting in last place tied with the worst record in the league at 4-14.
Fast Forward to the year of the deal, Powless had moved teams in a pre-draft deal that sent him from the Knighthawks to the Stealth and Schuss was plugging away on a Swarm team that would be 4-8 by the trade deadline.
When the deal went down, it was not much of a surprise. Schuss who has always worked and been based in the Vancouver area was looking for a change of scenery closer to home and on the other side, from a goal-scoring perspective, Powless was on pace for his least productive year of his career although he had strong assist totals.
The Swarm were in their last year in Minnesota in 2015 when Powless arrived and his six-games with the team were fairly uneventful. Yet, the very next season in 2016, when the team was in Georgia, Powless had the best year of his career. His 35 goals, 37 assists and 72 points are all career-highs for Powless. In the next season, the Swarm, led by Lyle Thompson’s MVP season, would win the NLL Championship with Powless on the team contributing with 50 points in the regular season and a five point performance (2g, 3a) in the championship clinching game.
As for Schuss, his introduction to the Stealth was very impressive. In the 7 games that 2015 season following the trade, he averaged 4.83 points per game. That next season when Powless was excelling with the Swarm, Schuss was also having his best year. His 57 assists and 86 points are still career-highs for him and so too were the 5.73 points per game he averaged.
Today, Powless is no longer with the Swarm, but Schuss is the 2nd-longest-tenured player on the Warriors only behind Justin Salt who joined the organization in 2013.
This was a deal that had significant implications for both teams, both in short-term and long-term. That is not always the case with every deal that goes down at the deadline, but in regards to this next trade, there were clear examples of how it was.
Andrew Suitor Traded From Minnesota Swarm to New England Black Wolves For Joel White & a 2017 2nd-Round NLL Draft Pick (2015)
In the Swarm’s final year in Minnesota, change was abundant – the Logan Schuss trade is a clear example of that. But that wasn’t the only deadline deal the Swarm made that season.
2015 was a monumentally transformational year for the Minnesota Swarm, they were a young team with burgeoning talent, but the wins weren’t raking up. So, at the deadline, we saw a very rare swap in the NLL: an exchange of team captains.
Andrew Suitor had been the captain of the Swarm for over three years before this trade went down. On top of that, in his first year holding the captainship, Suitor won the NLL Transition Player of the Year award (2012).
Looking at the other side of this trade, White had established himself as one of the most feared defensemen in the NLL. He finished 2nd in loose balls scooped up (182) by the end of the 2014-15 season and was in the top-10 in caused turnovers (27) – this includes both his team in New England and Minnesota.
What adds intrigue to this trade is that in 2017 the newly named (2nd season) Georgia Swarm won the NLL Championship with White helping to anchor the defense, especially during the team’s 2017 playoff run. That postseason, White lead the Swarm in both loose balls (31) and caused turnovers (7) and even added nine points in four games.
Furthermore, much like how Schuss has cemented himself post trade within the Vancouver Warriors organization, White is one of a few Swarm defensemen that remain from the 2015 team – Shayne Jackson, Jordan MacIntosh, and Miles Thompson are the others.
Suitor, on the other hand, has spent much of his time since the trade bouncing around to a few teams although he did spend the majority of that time with the New England Black Wolves. While Suitor is now retired, for the majority of his NLL career, he was known for being a ruthless defensemen that wasn’t afraid to mix it up. He was a guy you hated to play against but were happy knowing he was on your defense.
In his final year (the COVID-shortened season), with the upstart New York Riptide, Suitor was able to help lead and train a young back-end that was trying to find its identity. In the process, Suitor was able to amass loose balls and caused turnovers at near career-best rates.
This was a traded where leaders were given new opportunities to lead, and by most accounts, they both did that successful in their own ways. It was a trade that helped shake up the order of the NLL for many years that followed it and is unlikely to be seen again many more times.
It’s interesting to note that the draft pick the Black Wolves received in this deal would later be traded away to the Toronto Rock. The Rock would select Drew Belgrave with that 2nd-round pick. Belgrave didn’t spend much time on the Rock and he has proceeded to provide solid defense for the San Diego Seals.
Joe Resetarits Traded From Rochester Knighthawks To Black Wolves In Exchange for future 1st & 2nd picks (2019)
If you’re looking for a deadline deal of the past that has the most present impact in the NLL, look no further than this 2019 trade.
Just like the Minnesota Swarm in 2015, the 2019 Knighthawks were in their final hurrah in their home city – the team was on its way to Halifax for the next season to become the Thunderbirds. This trade would help shape the completion of both teams for years to come.
Resetarits, who is still in his prime today, in fact, he is having a potential MVP-worthy season this year, was coming off the most successful years of his career. In the 2017-18 season, a year before the trade went down, Resetarits recorded a 100-point season – the only American to accomplish this in the NLL. And, he was joining a Black Wolves offense that included Callum Crawford who would go on to record 109 points in his first full year with the Black Wolves in 2018-19.
For a New England team that had been building its way to success in recent years off of their defense, this trade bolstered the teams offense. From that 2019 season to the COVID-shortened 2020, the Black Wolves increased the amount of shots they took on goal, and now with Crawford on the Riptide, Resetarits is running the show again with the team now based in Albany.
Coming out of Week 15, Resetarits is top five in the NLL in goals, assists, and points. His 76 points after Friday’s Eastern Conference duel with the Halifax Thunderbirds are the second most in the NLL and has him deep in the conversation for MVP of the NLL.
It’s too early to say how well the Knighthawks, now Thunderbirds have come out in this trade. One of the picks they received was a 2nd-round pick that they had traded to the Calgary Roughnecks – the Roughnecks would select Marshal King with that pick – and the 2nd draft selection is a 1st round pick in the upcoming 2022 NLL Draft this fall.
With a larger pool of players from the US and abroad taking interest in the NLL and the box game, there are many great talents that will be available in the 1st round for the Thunderbirds. Unfortunately for them, their pick depends on how the FireWolves do this NLL season and currently they are in near top form.