NLL's Vancouver Stealth re-sign team captain Sorensen
NLL team keeps its defensive standouts, as Mike Grimes also re-ups with Vancouver
The Vancouver Stealth public relations staff didn’t have to hunt too hard for biographies when the club made a pair of signings to open the National Lacrosse League free-agent period Wednesday.
The newest tenants of the Langley Events Centre re-signed team captain Kyle Sorensen to a two-year deal while fellow defensive specialist Mike Grimes re-upped with a one-year contract.
Terms were not announced. The Stealth kickoff the season in the nine-team loop by visiting the Colorado Mammoth on Jan. 4, and then hold their home opener Jan. 11 against the Minnesota Swarm.
Sorensen, 27, is back for an eighth straight campaign with the Stealth, who are making the move north this season from Everett. Grimes, 27, is preparing for his sixth consecutive year with the club.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound right-handed Sorensen produced three goals, 11 points, and 71 loose balls in 16 regular season contests last season. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound left-handed Grimes was named to the NLL’s second all-pro team on defence thanks his eight goals, 20 points and 95 loose balls in 16 games.
The Stealth made it to the league finale, which they ended up hosting at the LEC because of conflicts with their regular building in Everett. They lost 11-10 the Rochester Knighthawks.
Coach Chris Hall's club has the majority of its top players from last year already wrapped up, including its two leading scorers, Rhys Duch and Lewis Ratcliff, who are yet to sign but have been given qualifying offers. Duch, 27, a righty, led the NLL in goals last season (45) and topped the Stealth in points (96). Ratcliff, 32, a lefty, was second on the squad in both goals (31) and points (67).
Starting goalie Tyler Richards, 27, has also been qualified.
Restricted free agents for Vancouver include righty Athan Iannucci, 31, who finished third in points on the club, and lefty Ilija Gajic, 28, who was picked up in an off-season trade with the Colorado Mammoth for faceoff ace Bob Snider.
The only two unrestricted free agents are righty Curtis Hodgson, 32, and backup goalie Matt Roik, 33. Hodgson has been with the Stealth franchise since 2005, and has played 143 of a possible 144 regular season encounters in that time. A defender, he had three goals, seven points and 45 loose balls in 16 regular season games last season.
The NLL has brought in a salary cap this season, and each team can spend $400,000 on its 20-man roster, so the feeling is that there won’t be much player movement via free agency.
Other re-signings in the league announced Wednesday included the Knighthawks giving Matt Vinc a five-year deal, the Calgary Roughnecks opting for three-year deal for lefty sniper Jeff Shattler and a one-year one for Dane Dobbie and the Toronto Rock and Buffalo Bandits placing franchise player tags on veteran lefties Colin Doyle and John Tavares, respectively.
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