Vancouver Stealth Will Have Big Changes on Defense for 2013
The Vancouver Stealth have announced a pair of key changes to their roster that will have a significant impact on their defensive setup for the upcoming season.
It was also announced that defenseman Tim Henderson will be deploying to Afghanistan at the end of August to serve in the Army's artillery division. He will consequently not be playing in the upcoming season.
Snider is one of the top two faceoff men in the NLL, perhaps second only to his older brother Geoff, who currently plays for the Calgary Roughnecks. Bob's 319 faceoff wins in 2012 are the single-season record and early next season—in just his fifth year in the league—he'll push his way into the top 10 all-time in that category.
Gajic is arguably a more rounded player than Snider. He has averaged better than a point per game on his career, whereas Snider's best scoring season was this past one where he picked up nine points in 16 games. Gajic has also forced far more turnovers than Snider, averaging 14.7 per year in his career compared to Snider's three.
The difference is in the faceoff circle, where Snider is one of the game's elite while Gajic is merely competent. In two years as a regular draw man, Gajic has only won 43.4 per cent of his faceoffs, compared to Snider's 68.1 per cent success rate over four seasons. That's a huge trade up for Colorado and a big step down for Vancouver in that role.
Henderson had a solid rookie season with the Stealth, playing in 11 games while collecting 19 loose balls and 17 penalty minutes.
Arguably, the Snider-Gajic trade makes both teams stronger: Gajic improves Vancouver's transition game significantly while Snider addresses Colorado's need for a reliable faceoff man. The Stealth will have to find another solid, dependable defender to replace Henderson though.
Perhaps they can find another big strong kid to fill that role in the upcoming entry draft, scheduled to take place on Sept. 16.
Follow me on Twitter @calgaryjimbo.
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