As the number of teams in the National Lacrosse League shrinks, it stands to reason that the talent level for each team has to go up. Therefore, you'd better be getting better or you'll be losing ground to the opposition.
That brings us to the Buffalo Bandits' latest move.
Earlier in the week the Bandits picked up Tracey Kelusky and a third-round draft choice from Calgary for a first-round pick in 2011. Kelusky is living in Ontario, and reportedly wanted to be traded closer to home.
Whatever the reason, Kelusky can play. He's the 11th-leading scorer in league history, and helped Calgary win a couple of championship. One of the Bandits told me that Kelusky is an outstanding leader. He's apparently a quality person too, based on the remarks by Roughnecks' management at the time of the trade.
"It should never be overlooked the things Tracey has done in this community and the charities he has been involved with. Including everything he has accomplished at Central Memorial High School in bringing the lacrosse program to them and the kids that he has coached, taught, and mentored. He has done more for this city and team than anyone can imagine," said Calgary president Brad Banister.
The Bandits already had picked up Jay Thorimbert and Scott Self from Minnesota. Those are three very solid acquisitions in the offseason. They should help Buffalo stay competitive in what should be a rugged 2011 season.
One other note -- it's interesting how many players who have come to Buffalo in this offseason have some sort of previous connection to the Bandits. Apparently once coach Darris Kilgour likes a player, he likes him for keeps. In Kelusky's case, he was a draft choice of Buffalo's in 1995 who decided to go to college instead of turning pro. By the way, John Grant was also picked by the Bandits that year; we'll see if he turns up.
--- Budd Bailey