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Dietrich makes a big splash early in his tenure

August 24, 2012

Despite a heavy turnover with offensive talent entering the 2012 season, the Buffalo Bandits experienced a relative lull in production and success. The Bandits stumbled to a 7-9 record before a narrow, heartbreaking defeat to Toronto in the first round of the playoffs.

After some restructuring in the front office, new general manager, Steve Dietrich, has been busy this summer. In addition to applying the franchise tag to Tracey Kelusky and Anthony Cosmo, Dietrich re-signed John Tavares and pulled the trigger on three significant trades.

Shawn Williams was the prized acquisitions in a busy summer for the Bandits.

The first trade was easily the biggest. The Bandits acquired Shawn Williams, defenseman Brandon Doran, a 2012 first round pick and two 2012 second round picks in exchange for Buffalo’s first round selection in the 2012 draft. The draft is set to take place on October 1.Dietrich also acquired defenseman Glen Bryan and forward Jamie Rooney from the Toronto Rock in exchange for a second-round pick (14th overall) in the 2012 NLL Entry Draft and a fourth-round pick in 2013. His final trade brought in transition player David Brock and forward Mike Hominuck from the Philadelphia Wings in exchange for Kevin Buchanan and a third-round pick in the 2013 NLL Entry Draft.

The trade with the Wings signified the end of a short, disappointing stint with Buffalo for Buchanan. A talented forward, he struggled to get free in Darris Kilgour’s system and was never an effective piece of the offense. His inability to tally on outside attempts made him particularly impotent here. Hominuck is a steady offensive player who should fill a similar role as Buchanan on Buffalo’s second offensive unit.

The Hominuck acquisition could potentially be a wash if his return to the system is as rough as Buchanan’s introduction appeared to be. However, after seeing Hominuck for a number of years, and his brief history in Buffalo, it is safe to assume his game is versatile enough to work with Buffalo’s motion sets.

From the Bandits release:

Hominuck (5’10”, 175 lbs. 5/4/81) returns to the Bandits after beginning his career in Buffalo in 2004. He has since seen time with Portland, Minnesota, Edmonton, Toronto and Philadelphia, and has totaled 290 points (113+177), 51 penalty minutes and 370 loose balls in 90 career regular season games.

“Mike is a very unselfish player, who has steadily improved his all-around offensive game throughout his career, finishing fifth in Wings scoring last year,” Dietrich said.

In the playoffs, Hominuck has added 14 points (7+7) in five games. Now entering his ninth season in the league, the Welland, Ontario native set a personal best in 2012 with 36 assists.

Obviously Williams is the prize of this set of trades. He has been a star in the NLL for a number of years and should form a terrifying trio on the top unit with Luke Wiles and John Tavares. Williams spent some time of his own in Buffalo previously and has proven to be an excellent weapon season after season.

From the Bandits (again):

“Shawn will help add some scoring to our roster,” said Bandits general manager Steve Dietrich. “He is a great teammate on and off the floor and understands how special it is to be a Buffalo Bandit.”

Williams recorded 68 points (16+52) and eight penalty minutes in Edmonton last season, leading the Rush in points and ranking sixth in the league in assists. He added 13 points (2+11) in three playoff games. In his career, Williams has totaled 1,038 points (412+626) and 117 penalty minutes in 223 games with Edmonton, Rochester, Buffalo, Toronto and Ontario.

“Shawn will help add some scoring to our roster,” said Bandits general manager Steve Dietrich. “He is a great teammate on and off the floor and understands how special it is to be a Buffalo Bandit.”

Williams recorded 68 points (16+52) and eight penalty minutes in Edmonton last season, leading the Rush in points and ranking sixth in the league in assists. He added 13 points (2+11) in three playoff games. In his career, Williams has totaled 1,038 points (412+626) and 117 penalty minutes in 223 games with Edmonton, Rochester, Buffalo, Toronto and Ontario.

Kevin Buchanan couldn’t find the right fit in Buffalo.

Buffalo’s acquisition of Brock, Bryan, Doran and Rooney not only introduces NLL-quality players to the roster, but significant depth on the back end. While the Bandits offense wasn’t bad last year, they weren’t a shutdown unit like Darris Kilgour has come to crave. Although none of the four may make a major impact on the season, they will give the Bandits significantly more options regarding their core defensemen.Looking at the transactions as one shows the true magic of these moves. Dietrich effectively brought Willaims and Hominuck in while only losing Buchanan in the swap. The draft picks and defensive players even out, for the most part with the Bandits managing to retain a first round selection in the 2012 draft.

While Williams is so spring chicken, he and Hominuck should provide solid support even when John Tavares decides to call it a career. The acquisition of these two, plus Luke Wiles, shows that the Bandits are aware of the changes that will be coming and are preparing to cover their losses.

Now the key will be ensuring each is capable of adding the spark the Bandits are searching for.

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