(Photo Courtesy of Alex McIntyre/New York Riptide)
Coming into the season, Tyler Digby was heralded as the most prolific offensive threat for this New York Riptide squad entering their first year as a franchise. And he proved that that to be true, leading the team in scoring with 36 points (14G/22A) through their first ten games.
But the Tyler Digby era in New York ended sooner than many expected when he was traded to Colorado, a team that also has a young core and needs help on the right side. Digby can certainly provide that.
And while many can make sense of why this trade is good for Colorado, many are having a hard time wrapping their heads around why Regy Thorpe chose to trade his teams leading scorer for two second-round draft picks (2021,2022).
As mentioned, Digby loved up to expectations with New York, leading their offense and tallying 36 points through ten games. He was THE GUY on that offense and impacted the game both as a shooter and a passer, especially. But just as Digby lived up to expectations, that hasn’t been true for some other players. And while this offense seems to still be finding its bearings in certain areas, trading Digby opens up room for some of these other guys, especially younger players, to grow and develop. That is something that New York can sacrifice right now as they sit in last place in the East with a 1-9 record.
Connor Kelly and Dan Lomas (13G/17A) are now the top scorers for New York with number one overall draft pick Tyson Gibson (13G/16A) and Jean-Luc Chetner (10G/17A) around them. That is an offense that can certainly make some noise, especially if they can consistently play at a high level.
And while those four might have to turn it up a notch and take on a bigger role with Digby gone, guys like Kieran McArdle, Gale Thorpe, and Travis Longboat may be affected by this trade even more.
As mentioned, losing Digby opens up room on the offensive end, especially on the right side. A, somewhat, underperforming McArdle or developing rookies like Thorpe or Longboat will likely get more of a look and in turn, might see their minutes go up. After all, those three seem to be three are the “second-tier” of this offense at the moment. Developing them and building for the future is crucial if the Riptide truly want to build something special on Long Island.
We could also see Regy Thorpe maybe give a guy like Myles Jones, who is an offensive threat in the field game, more of a shot to make his mark as an offensive player in between the boards, as well. He is more of a project player at the moment with very limited box experience, but he does have the potential to become the next American field star to the NLL by storm, much like Tom Schreiber in Toronto or like Matt Rambo and Trevor Baptiste are becoming in Philadelphia.
Now looking at this trade from Colorado’s perspective, they add a proven veteran to a younger offense. This move very much mirrors the trade the Mammoth made last season to acquire Cory Vitarelli. And while he ended up signing with Philadelphia in the offseason, he was a revelation down the stretch for Colorado and helped them get to the playoffs and secure that upset win over Saskatchewan in the first round.
Digby brings much of the same, especially as many teams start to focus on the playoff race as we move into the second half of the season. Pairing Tyler Digby up on the right side with Ryan Lee is lethal, nonetheless. Not to mention, Colorado also has Eli McLaughlin and Chris Wardle on the left side.
And not to mention that Digby, a former college football player at Robert Morris, brings some much need size to the Colorado offense in addition to his scoring prowess.
This trade, in the short term, is a major win for Colorado. But in the long term, New York will benefit. The room to develop talent and two draft picks to acquire talent is what the Riptide need to continue to build from here on out.