Waterdogs LC trade for Dillon Ward

By Joe Keegan

PLL Analyst

May 3, 2021

Waterdogs LC has acquired goalie Dillon Ward from Chaos LC in exchange for Wes Berg and the Waterdogs’ first round pick in the 2022 College Draft.

The deal was completed on Friday prior to the trade window closing. It’s the Waterdogs’ third deal of the offseason after acquiring attackman Ryan Brown earlier in March and Eli Gobrecht on draft day.

Chaos receives: Wes Berg and a 2022 first round College Draft pick

Berg fits everything Chaos wants to do offensively. Head coach Andy Towers pictures him competing for any of four roles: Interior attackman, righty perimeter attackman, box-style midfield line, or the traditional midfield line.

This Chaos offense divides more evenly and accurately into righties and lefties than it does into midfielders and attackmen. Berg belongs on the righty side with Dhane Smith, Miles Thompson, Chase Fraser, Jake Froccaro, Sergio Salcido, and Eric Scott.

Berg can create on that side or finish. He has more range than a typical crease attackman, but his hands inside make him an intriguing fit there. Even well-timed two-slides fail to separate Berg from the ball.

With two righties moved to the Unable to Travel list (Curtis Dickson and Challen Rogers), a move to add depth there makes sense. Towers was asking for a high price for Ward – rightfully so – and ultimately pulled the trigger to make his team more competitive offensively entering training camp.

Waterdogs receive: Dillon Ward

2018 All-World goalie Dillon Ward can confuse shooters with his approach to the position. His 6-foot-5 frame takes up a lot of the cage as is. Compound that with his unusually high arc, and there’s not a ton of twine to aim for.

No goalie forces more wide shots than Ward. During the Outlaws’ 2018 MLL Championship run, only 51% of shots against Ward were on cage – well below the league average (62.7%) from that summer.

Stepping to shooters like that leaves Ward susceptible to passes that cross the Z-line. In that same 2018 run, Ward denied 61.3% of unassisted shots – but only 30.0% of assisted shots. Make “one more” and you might find a layup. That’s easier said than done though, especially in six-on-six sets.

The Waterdogs saved 53% of shots against in 2020. Ward is an instant upgrade. The defenders in front of him – Ryland Rees and Zach Currier from Team Canada, Eli Gobrecht and BJ Grill from the Outlaws – know what types of shots he likes to see. This was the last move head coach Andy Copelan made during the trade window – but the first one he had sought out to make. Mission accomplished. We’re on to training camp.

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