We continue Evan's season previews with last year's MLL Championship finalists. First we look at 2012 Champions Chesapeake Bayhawks, followed by Runner-up Denver Outlaws. And don't forget to tune into CBS Sports Network on Thursday night at 7 p.m. to watch Evan in the first "Inside the MLL" of 2013.
2012 record: 10-4 (Champions)
Key Losses: none
Key Additions: Jay Card (A), Jesse Bernhardt (M) drafted from Maryland
The reigning Steinfeld Trophy Champions, Chesapeake will look to continue their winning ways in 2013. Using their first two selections in the MLL draft to potentially acquire midfielders Jesse Bernhardt and Kevin Cooper from Maryland, the Bayhawks only enhanced their roster, which brings back all of the pieces they utilized in their 2012 title run.
Evan says: “ If they’re not better they’re going to be exactly the same. No one’s made a move to say they’re retiring, John Grant Jr.’s back, after he’s playing indoors. They’ve got all the pieces back, they’ve got all the depth they need and they picked up the best player in the draft not named Peter Baum in my opinion, in Jesse Bernhardt. He’s a guy that could come in, much like John Haus, and play right away and make a difference. He gives the defense some youth, he gives them some end-to-end speed that they don’t really have. There’s nothing negative to say about Chesapeake and if they don’t repeat, I’d be shocked. New York did a lot to put themselves in the conversation with the moves they’ve made, but Chesapeake: Dave Cottle, hat’s off to you, you kept everyone and you probably got better through the draft.”
2012 Record: 11-3 (Finalist)
Key Losses: Mark Matthews (A)
Key Additions: Ethan Vedder (M), Tom Guadagnolo (D)
After falling short to Chesapeake in their fourth finals appearance overall, the Denver Outlaws made moves during the offseason that will look to help them beef up their midfield. In acquiring Ethan Vedder from Boston and Mike Thompson from Charlotte, as well as Adam Jones & Dan Decklebaum from Hamilton, the Outlaws will look to erase any doubts in their roster following the loss of Mark Matthews to New York, in addition to having a solid crew of rookies that may join the squad this season.
Evan says: “I’m on record last year, doubting what they were doing in the offseason, and they kind of made me scratch my head a little bit this year too, with the moving of Mark Matthews. But I know what their plan is as an organization: Tony Seaman and Jim Stagnitta- while some teams will bring in names and the most talented players- they bring in players that fit their system, and we saw that it worked last season. [Brendan] Mundorf will be healthy, that’s a big deal, and I think their midfield depth is really, really strong. The attack beyond Mundorf and Chris Bocklet, that’s a question; Jeremy Boltus is still dealing with the recovery of an ACL surgery, and their rookies could offer something, but counting on a rookie after a long college season is always a risky move. So, I question the attack, I think the strength is the midfield and maybe face-offs with Anthony Kelly getting up there in age, how much can he give you over the course of the season?
In my opinion, I have Denver at this point fourth in my preseason top eight, and I learned last year probably not to doubt Jim Stagnitta and Tony Seamen as much as I have in the past, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”