SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Swarm today acquired the #6 and #31 overall picks in the 2011 NLL Entry Draft along with a 2012 second round selection in a trade with the Edmonton Rush for D Ryan Cousins, F Aaron Wilson, G Kevin Croswell and the #10 overall pick in the 2011 NLL Entry Draft.
Minnesota now holds two first round selections in this year’s draft with the #4 and #6 picks.
“Ryan has been our team captain since day one, which makes it very hard to part ways with him after everything he has done for our organization,” Swarm owner and governor John Arlotta said. “I want to thank Ryan for all of his contributions to the Swarm both on and off the field during his seven years with the team."
Cousins, 30, has been the Swarm’s team captain since its inception and was named the NLL Defensive Player of the Year and a First Team All-Pro selection in both 2007 and 2008. The Toronto native was also selected to the All-Star Game from 2005-09 with the Swarm. After missing the first half of the 2011 season due to work commitments, Cousins recorded five assists and collected 20 loose balls. In 10 seasons with Minnesota, Arizona and Washington, Cousins has posted 78 points (31g, 47a) with 172 loose balls.
Wilson, 30, finished third on the team with 57 points (23g, 34a) in 16 games this past season. In 2010, Wilson finished second on the team with a career-high 89 points (40g, 49a) in 16 games. Minnesota acquired the Kitchener, Ontario native in a trade with Rochester midway through the 2009 season. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound forward then went on to tally 43 points (22g, 21a) in 20 games. In his 10-year career, Wilson has scored 538 points (284g, 254a) with Minnesota, Rochester and Toronto.
“Aaron is a guy we traded for a few years ago to specifically get a player that could put goals on the board, and he’s done just that over the years,” Arlotta said. ”It was hard parting with Aaron in this trade. He is such a great competitor who gave everything he had on every shift and that leadership will certainly be missed. With that said, you have to give quality to get quality, and I believe we will get that in this year’s draft.”
Croswell, 26, posted a 1-2 record with a .795 SV% in four appearances with the Swarm in 2011. In four seasons with Minnesota, the native of Peterborough, Ontario finished with a record of 5-13 with an 11.52 GAA and a .773 SV%.
“Kevin has been a great backup with the Swarm for many years,” Arlotta said. “I’m excited to see him go to a team where he will likely have an opportunity to compete for a starting position. He certainly deserves that chance.”
Arlotta added, “We felt like the opportunity to move up in this draft and get some younger players this year and next year was important for us at this stage in our development. We have made the playoffs in 5 of the 7 years of our existence, but we have never won a playoff game. We need to take the next step and become a consistent playoff winner. We believe the players in this year’s draft, which is arguably one of the best in recent memory, will get us started toward achieving that goal.”
Assistant general manager Joe Sullivan added, “Having coached these three players for several years now, I know better than anyone that these are three quality players that will be missed. However, this trade will enable us to get some very talented young players in both this year’s and next year’s draft, and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do that.”