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Bandits slap franchise tag on Kelusky, Cosmo

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

(Update, 12:06 p.m.: According to the Twitter account for former Toronto Rock defender Glen Bryan, the 23-year-old is headed to the Bandits’ organization. Update 2: The complete trade is Bryan and forward Jamie Rooney to Buffalo in exchange for a second round pick (14th overall) in the 2012 NLL Draft and a fourth round pick in 2013, courtesy of In Lax We Trust. The deal is still pending league approval.)

New Bandits’ GM Steve Dietrich used his two available franchise tags to ensure that goalie Anthony Cosmo and righty attacker Tracey Kelusky would be with the Bandits in 2013, the team announced yesterday.

Cosmo was acquired from Minnesota—where he was holding out—in the middle of last season for NLL first round draft picks in 2013 and 2014. The veteran goalie pried the starting job away from Mike Thompson and turned in a stellar performance against the Toronto Rock in the East Division Semifinal.

Barring the surprise addition of another starting-caliber goalie, it appears safe to say that Cosmo will be the Bandits’ starting goalie in 2013 given the priority of keeping him in the fold. Thompson’s future remains uncertain according to the Buffalo News’ Budd Bailey.

It’s more surprising that Dietrich chose to cement Kelusky’s place rather than defender Chris White or forward John Tavares. There’s nothing to suggest that Tavares has any interest in changing scenery after 21 years with the club, so perhaps Dietrich understood that the NLL legend would either retire or return to Buffalo for another year, though Darris Kilgour franchised JT last season.

Tavares, along with fellow Bandits Mark Steenhuis, Scott Self, Chris White, Jimmy Purves, Kelusky and Darryl Gibson, plays summer indoor for the Peterborough Lakers in Major Series Lacrosse. The Lakers will start their semifinal series against the Brooklin Redmen Sunday.

The oft-active Bandits’ forum on ILIndoor.com is often bitingly-critical of Kelusky, whose foot in the crease denied John Tavares’ last second tying goal against the Rock in the 2012 playoffs. With Kelusky a month from his 37th birthday, it’s baffling why Dietrich would bring back a player who only contributed 28 points last year and closed the campaign on such a sour note.

Between Tavares (41), new acquisition Shawn Williams (38) and Kelusky (37), the Bandits continue to trust in a veteran-laden team that seems unconcerned in adapting to league rule changes that demand faster play and more athletic players.

(Featured photo by Dave Marino from the Bandits’ playoff-clinching win against Rochester—full gallery here).

TAGGED: anthony cosmo, buffalo bandits, lacrosse, nll, nll free agency, steve dietrich, tracey kelusky

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