Tonawanda News — Forward Aaron Wilson (46 points in 2013) is another key returner, as is Mark Steenhuis, who is slated to play forward full-time for the first time since 2009. He had 39 points (13+26) as a transition player last season.
The Bandits also hit the trade market and made a blockbuster deal to bolster their roster.
New to Buffalo is Ryan Benesch, who has starred for three teams in his seven years in the league. The 28-year-old tied for seventh in points among NLL players with 84 (34+50) for the Minnesota Swarm in 2013. Buffalo packaged two-first round picks and a third-round pick for the forward and transition man Andrew Watt, who also made the final roster.
Helping to provide depth on the forward line, along with veterans Chad Culp and Shawn Williams, is the promising Joe Resetarits, a Hamburg native.
The acquisition resulted from a draft-day trade that landed Resetarits, the younger brother of former Bandit Frank Resetarits, in Buffalo from Calgary for a pair of draft picks. A sixth overall pick in the 2012 entry draft, Resetarits scored eight times and added 16 assists in 14 games last season.
The trades counter the retirements of transition player Jon Harasym and forward Mike Hominuck.
The back end will feature the physical presence of Billy Dee Smith, as well as a crew of others that also fit a tough defensive mold. Rory Smith, at 200 pounds, was brought in via a swap with Colorado to add more size. Derek Suddons and Steve Priolo are reliable veterans that will be back on defense, too.
Anthony Cosmo, as if to fit in with the team theme of redemption, will grace the crease as the starter in goal. By his standards, Cosmo had a down 2013, going 4-4 with a 13.37 goals against average. Backing up Cosmo will again be Kurtis Wagar, who proved capable in 2013, seeing action in 15 games and posting a 12.22 GAA.
Buffalo will begin its season at 7:30 tonight at First Niagara Center against the Philadelphia Wings, who are coming off a 7-9 campaign.