March 2, 2011

Resurgent Rush Fortifies Left Side with Greer

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com

After nearly a month pursing a trade for Zack Greer, the National Lacrosse League's Edmonton Rush landed the former first-round draft pick from the Minnesota Swarm in exchange for a first-round draft pick in the 2013 NLL entry draft.

The deal was announced on the NLL's weekly coaches conference call Wednesday. Edmonton coach and general manager Derek Keenan said the Rush were looking to strengthen their left side, and he thinks Greer will perform up to a level expected when Greer was drafted No. 3 overall by the Swarm in the 2009 draft.

Minnesota coach Mike Lines said he was sad to see Greer go, but thinks a change of scenery will benefit him. The trade also unites Greer with his older brother, Bill, an Edmonton defenseman who arrived with the Rush in the offseason via the dispersal draft of the Orlando Titans.

On Twitter Wednesday afternoon, Zack Greer wrote: "True Story, I have been traded to the Edmonton Rush. Going to miss the boys in MN but jacked up to play with my bro and good group in EDM."

"We not only looked at the present, but the future," Keenan said. "He's a young player. He's scored at every level that he's played at. He hasn't performed quite to what the expectations were for him coming into the National Lacrosse League, but typically when a guy is a player of his caliber, eventually those type of skills come out to the forefront again if he's in the right environment, which we think we'll have for him in Edmonton."

Greer played in four games this season for the Swarm after being hampered by an upper body injury. He had five goals and five assists. The 25-year-old-played in 13 games last season, totaling 23 points.

Swarm general manager Marty O'Neill said in a press release that, "There was less available playing time at Zack's position due to the recent acquisition of Jamie Shewchuk."

Minnesota acquired Shewchuk, a five-year NLL veteran, from Colorado in exchange for a fourth round pick in the 2012 entry draft Feb. 9. Shewchuk has eight points in three games with the Swarm.

"We've put Zack in a place where he is going to get the best chance to play. He was a good teammate in Minnesota and well liked amongst his peers," O'Neill said. "We wish him the best of luck in Edmonton."

Said Lines: "Well, it's sad to see Zack go. He did a lot for our organization over the last year and a half. A fresh start for him is not going to hurt. He's going to be playing with his brother, and Edmonton was looking to bolster up their left side a little bit, so it should be a really good fit for him."

Greer, a Whitby, Ontario native, led Bryant University in scoring with 68 points in 2009 and finished his collegiate field career as the NCAA's all-time leading point and goal scorer in Division I history, with 353 points and 248 goals.

"He's a skill guy with good size, very athletic kid," Keenan said. "I've watched him play pretty much his whole life out here in Whitby. He's a kid that we've had our eye on for a while, and we feel he's going to help our left side that's been a little inconsistent. Andy Secore's been injured, and we sort of had up-and-down performances from other guys. We think Zack is going to come in and really help that side. He's definitely going to be given a full opportunity to do so."

Keenan said Bill Greer did not play an active role in the trade.

"I've talked to Minnesota for about a month and we finally came to terms [Tuesday]," Keenan said. "Billy didn't have anything to do with it, [but] I know they're both real happy to be playing with one another."

Edmonton is 2-7 and in fourth place in the NLL's West Division. Minnesota is 4-4 and in second place in the West.

In other Swarm news, the team said it has activated captain and defenseman Ryan Cousins, who was sidelined the first half of the season due to his full-time job as a Toronto firefighter. Cousins has been the Minnesota's only captain since the team's inception.


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