Free Agency is upon us, and you know what that means for players and fans alike; phones ringing and dinging, breaking news, big trades, and fans refreshing their social media pages to see if they will have to retire the jersey of their favorite player. With that being said, the Wings are always looking for upgrades to the roster at every position and Free Agency is an opportunity to add depth and experience. Let’s take a look at what the next few weeks may have in store.
When it comes to the Wings, notable players from last season’s roster who will be hitting the market as Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA) include Corey Small, Kevin Crowley, Corey Vitarelli, Ian Llord, and Kiel Matisz. The Wings have yet to apply the Franchise Tag to any of them, which would prevent that player from hitting the open market. One thing to keep in mind is that under the new CBA, players 33 and older may reject the Franchise Designation. This would apply to both Kiel Matisz and Kevin Crowley. Crowley was drafted first overall by the original Philadelphia Wings team in the 2012 NLL entry draft. In 2019, when the Wings returned to Philly, the new generation of the Wings re-acquired Crowley from the New England Black Wolves and he has played in Philly ever since. He led the Wings in both points (89) and assists (64) last season, while Corey Small (30) and Crowley (25) held the second and third place spots, respectively, in goals scored. Similar to Crowley, Ian Llord has roots with the Philadelphia Wings organization, having been drafted by Philly 5th overall in the 2006 entry draft. Llord scored 2 goals and picked up 37 loose balls in 2021-2022. Cory Vitarelli is a power forward who had 25 loose balls and 4 powerplay goals last season as he battled injuries throughout the year. While we know free agency is unpredictable and isn’t in our hands, it would definitely be sad to see some of these players walk in free agency. I will be interested to see how the first few days of free agency unfold.
Looking around the league, there are several notable names who could potentially be hitting the market:
- Joe Resetarits: Thanks to the aforementioned change in the CBA regarding player age and rejecting a Franchise designation, Joe Resetarits is arguably the most notable player potentially eligible for free agency. Playing with New England and Albany the past two seasons, Resetarits has lit it up. Last season, he finished second in the MVP voting after leading the NLL in goals while collecting 111 points in 18 games Now playing less than 10 minutes away from his alma mater in UAlbany, teams may have a hard time convincing him to relocate but this is a situation to keep an eye on.
- Ryan Benesch: Resetarits’ teammate in Albany, Ryan Benesch may also hit the open market after recording 81 points this past season, good for 18th in the league in scoring. Benesch was the 2009 NLL Rookie of the year and has the ability to make big plays all over the turf. His veteran presence will be highly sought after around the NLL.
- Curtis Dickson: Calgary Roughnecks forward Curtis Dickson put up 82 points last season, ranking sixth in the NLL in goals scored and 17th in points. As a former stand-out for the University of Delaware, Dickson has friends on the East coast.
- Jeremy Noble: San Diego Seals forward Jeremy Noble collected 70 points last season and led the Seals in assists with 54. Although Noble may be smaller in size, he is known around the league for his quickness and great lacrosse IQ.
- Mitch de Snoo: The reigning NLL Defensive Player of the Year, de Snoo played last season with the Toronto Rock but spent his college ball days here in Philly with the Drexel Dragons. There is certainly a case to be made for bringing a defensive force like de Snoo back to the City of Brotherly Love where he has already seen success.
In my humble opinion, the Wings would certainly benefit from adding some scoring on both the offensive and defensive end of the bench. Only time will tell what General Manager Paul Day decides to do. Fortunately for fans of the Wings and NLL, the time of Free Agency is finally here; so sit back, relax, and wait for the fireworks!