CALGARY, AB — Big changes are happening in Calgary.
The Calgary Roughnecks added 6-foot-3, 230-pound forward Tyler Digby to their offence, as well as a pair of first-round draft picks, from the New England Black Wolves in exchange for Shawn Evans in a blockbuster deal on Monday.
Evans won the NLL scoring title last season with a staggering 130 points – 15 points clear of anyone else – and was named the league MVP. Digby is no slouch, either. The 24-year-old scored a career-high 38 goals last season – the 10th highest total in the league — and added 36 assists.
It was a whirlwind 48 hours for Digby, who was dealt from the Vancouver Stealth to New England 24-hours earlier in a another shocking trade that had superstar forward Garrett Billings landing on the Stealth.
“You know what, I’m very excited,” said Digby, who was a finalist for rookie of the year in 2014 after a 22 goal season. “Calgary has always been a battle to play against, so I’m very excited to play with those guys. The team is a good young team and I think that we will have a lot of success this year.”
Digby, a right-handed forward from New Westminster, BC, spent the past two seasons with the Stealth where he scored 60 goals and added 72 assists in 36 games, he scooped 102 loose balls and racked up 21 penalty minutes.
The Robert Morris alum improved in each of his first two years in the NLL and showed great consistency in 2015, scoring in each of the Stealth’s 18 games.
He was also a force on the power play, scoring 15 goals with the man advantage – tops in the league along with Riggers’ sniper Dane Dobbie. Curtis Dickson was right behind them with 14 powerplay markers.
“I think it was just that attention was paid to other guys and I was able to take advantage of my opportunities,” explained Digby, who shared the right side of the floor with 103 point man Rhys Duch.
Digby is an offensive threat all over the floor, not just the powerplay.
The athletic forward, who was also selected 36th overall in the 2013 CFL Draft by the Ottawa Renegades, is able to use his size, strength, and powerful shot to make a difference in five-on-five play. He is also adept in setting up his teammates when they’re open.
“I just try to do whatever is asked of me,” Digby said. “I try to use my body to my advantage, find the guy who’s open, and finish the chances that I get. I just try to take what the defence is giving me, whether it’s outside or inside. Just try to work on having a good overall game.”
Calgary’s offence will look dramatically different 2016.
Splitting up the duo of Evans and Dickson while mixing in top rookies Wesley Berg and Reilly O’Connor, the Roughnecks will have a decidedly different identity on offence. One that will likely see more of an equal ball distribution.
It won’t be all unfamiliar to Digby, though. He shard the floor with Dickson in 2009 as a member of the New Westminster Salmonbellies Junior ‘A’ squad. In 2011 Digby won the scoring race in junior racking up 49 goals and 94 points in 17 games.
“For sure, he’s a great player,” Digby said of Dickson. “Along with a lot of players on that offence. There’s a lot of great players. I’m very excited to be a part of that.”
Despite falling to the Roughnecks in last year’s season finale – which ended the Stealth’s season, there is no bad blood says Digby.
He’s simply excited to join Calgary and help them push for a championship.
“It’s always tough,” Digby said. “But I know some guys on the team and I’m looking forward to joining some good new teammates and making a run.”