CALGARY, AB — 2016 could be a year to remember for the for the Calgary Roughnecks’ left side.
With the majority of the offence flowing through Curtis Dickson and Shawn Evans on the right side of the floor last season, production on the left side was down slightly compared to previous years. Dan Dobbie’s point totals slid to 67 from 90 the year prior while Jeff Shattler’s totals went from 84 points in 2014 to 62.
That difference was in part due to 47 and 48 goal seasons courtesy of Evans and Dickson respectively. However, with the departure of Evans it’s likely the ball will be more evenly distributed and see every corner of the floor before entering the net.
The entire forward group will play a big role in the Riggers’ attack.
Curt Malawsky has stated that the 2016 version of the Roughnecks offence, while much different than Calgary fans are accustom to, will have a different look with more of a group effort – benefiting Shattler and Dobbie, who are both capable of generating big offensive numbers.
It will be fun to watch.
Dane Dobbie will be looking to replicate his career-high 50-goal performance from two seasons ago. He missed two games in 2015 and still managed 36 markers, so given a full season and a more even rotation of the ball, he could be a threat to hit the 50-goal plateau once again.
Jeff Shattler, who was named the NLL MVP in 2011, will be a key member of the offence with his ability to find sticks and creatively move the ball around. His relentlessness on loose balls should help keep the ball on offence, something he’s exceled at his entire career.
In the off-season, the Roughnecks left side experienced some change with former first overall pick and long-time Roughnecks shooter Daryl Veltman off to Buffalo in free agency. The veteran was a crucial part in running the offence and quarterbacking the power play.
But Calgary may have capable replacement, already.
Left-handed forward Reilly O’Connor, fresh off the 2015 NLL Draft, has impressed the Roughnecks brass in the early going with his vision and playmaking ability. The 7th overall pick was an assist machine in junior, racking up 299 helpers in 98 games as a member of the Whitby Warriors.
O’Connor seems to be fitting in nicely, showcasing his skills this past weekend against the Vancouver Stealth. He had five assists in the game, including some highlight reel feeds.
Overall, the left side of the offence is in great shape coming into the season and should mesh well with the right side.
It’s a little early to start whistling Sweet Georgia Brown but Roughnecks’ fans are in store for some entertainment this season.