The Toronto Rock have announced that the team has matched the contract offer sheet tendered by the Rochester Knighthawks to restricted free agent Garrett Billings. The contract is a two-year deal that covers the 2015 & 2016 seasons.
Billings was injured in April of 2014 in a game against the Vancouver Stealth, tearing his ACL, which required season-ending surgery. He was without a contract to begin training camp and was moved to the Protected Player List while recovering from the previously sustained injury and has not been with the team this season.
Rochester filed their offer sheet with the NLL on Friday night, leaving the Rock 72 hours to match the offer. That window would have expired at 11:56 p.m. ET on Monday night had the Rock not matched the contract offer and Billings would have become a Knighthawk with no compensation due to Toronto.
In 2014, Billings led the NLL in average points-per-game (6.73) and finished third in the league with 101 points (32+69) despite just 15 games played. In his fifth career year, Billings finished fourth in the league with 69 assists, his 32 goals ranked 14th overall, and his 86 loose balls ranked ninth among NLL forwards.
The three-time NLL All-Pro has been the runner-up for the NLL MVP award for the last three years and became the first player in league history to record three-straight 100-plus point seasons. Billings is also the two-time reigning NLL Sportsmanship Award winner.
The Langley, B.C. native, who played collegiately at the University of Virginia, was the Rock’s first-round (6th overall) selection in the 2009 NLL Draft.
The NLL trade deadline is Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET. Teams then have until Thursday at 12 p.m. ET to finalize their roster. Following Thursday’s deadline, only internal roster transactions are permitted and no free agents may be signed for the remainder of the 2015 season.