(Photo Courtesy of NLL/Georgia Swarm)
NLL Free Agency officially opened on August 1st at midnight ET.
Through the first day of free agency there has already been some significant moves made, and the New York Riptide and Vancouver Warriors have seemed to capitalize more than any team, at least on day one.
New York has brought in a whole new coaching staff and front office, with Jim Veltman being hired as the franchise’s second ever GM and Dan Ladouceur being named the Riptide’s new head coach. And o day one of the 2020 free agency period it looks like they could have found their goalie of the future, signing Steve Orleman to a two-year deal.
Orleman was selected 19th overall by Georgia in the 2018 NLL Draft and has spent the past two seasons on the Swarm’s practice squad. Last summer in the OJALL, Orleman posted a 69% save percentage as the starter for the Brampton Excelsiors. In 20 games he made 330 saves and had 148 goals against average.
The young goaltender should be a great addition to the Riptide defense and could compete for a starting spot, as New York struggled to find any real success or consistency in cage last season between Alex Buque and Gowah Abrams.
In addition, New York also re-signed defenseman Dereck Downs to a one-year deal. Downs was acquired by New York via trade with Calgary. Downs saw action in six games with the Roughnecks last season after being traded from New England in January. With the bulk of his production last season coming during his time in Calgary, the second-year player tallied 15 points (4G/11A) and chased down 16 loose balls all together last season.
Vancouver also made quite a big splash on the first day of free agency, signing goalie Steve Fryer and defenseman Garrett McIntosh, and re-signing forward Joel McCready, as well as defensemen Colton Porter and Owen Barker.
Fryer heads back to the Western Division, where he spent two seasons as a backup in Colorado before being picked up by Rochester in the expansion draft last summer. With the Knighthawks, Fryer saw action in six games, making 170 saves and posting a 75% save percentage. The six-year goaltender has shown plenty flashes of success in the NLL and will help provide a very good one-two punch in net with Eric Penney.
The addition of McIntosh and re-signings of Porter and Barker only bolster the Warriors’ back end further. McIntosh, a British Columbia native and seven-year veteran, comes to Vancouver after two seasons with San Diego, where he was a key piece of their defense. This past season he recorded four caused turnovers, 36 loose balls, and one assist. Barker has been a stud through his first two seasons in the league, scooping up 95 loose balls and causing 37 turnovers in his career thus far. Porter missed last season, but had a strong 2019 campaign, where he tallied eight points (2G/6A), caused 13 turnovers and scooped up 80 loose balls, ranking fourth on the squad in that category.
McCready, and 11-year veteran, put up 20 points (11G/9A) through nine games last season. The veteran forward was on pace to have a strong bounce back season after missing the majority of the 2019 season with a knee injury. Getting him back is a huge plus for Vancouver’s offense, which has only improved this summer with the addition of Kyle Killen via trade earlier this summer.
A few other major re-signings/signings from day one of NLL free agency, include defensemen Adrian Sorichetti signing a one-year deal with Saskatchewan and Brad Kri signing a five-year deal with Toronto.
Sorichetti spent the first five years of his career before being picked up by San Diego in the expansion draft two summers ago. He missed last season, but in 2019 he recorded 11 points (5G/6A), caused 13 turnovers, and scooped up 60 ground balls.
Kri, a seven-year veteran, has been a consistent presence on the back end for Toronto since he arrived ahead of the 2016 season. This past year, the defenseman caused 25 turnovers and chased down 91 loose balls. He also dished out 10 assists.