Buffalo (WKBW/Bandits) Buffalo Bandits General Manager Steve Dietrich today announced that the team has acquired forward Derek Hopcroft from the Colorado Mammoth in exchange for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2014 NLL Entry Draft.
“Derek brings more depth to our right side,” Dietrich said. “He has a great outside shot and continues to work on the other dimensions of his game. He will come into our second weekend of training camp and compete for a spot.”
Hopcroft (5’10”, 185 lbs., 2/6/86) has recorded 29 points (16+13) in 14 career NLL games with Colorado and the Calgary Roughnecks. He has topped the 50-point mark in each of his four Major Series Lacrosse seasons, including an 84-point output in 2011 that ranked him second in league scoring and saw him score a league-high 44 goals. Last season, his 55 points in 14 MSL games were good for third-best in the league.
“I was shocked at first because I wasn’t expecting it, but when it set in I was excited to be coming to Buffalo, because it’s a better fit for me,” Hopcroft said. “Getting to play with Shawn Williams again after playing alongside him over the past few summers is even more enticing.”
The team also announced that they have re-signed Brandon Francis, Mat Giles and Travis Irving. Rounding out the roster moves are the additions of defensemen Kyle Schmelzle and Joe Smith, as well as free agent Travis Gibbons, who attended the team’s free agent tryout in November. Each of the six players were signed to one-year deals.
A five-year NLL veteran, Francis (6’2”, 245 lbs., 8/4/83) returns for his sixth season with the Bandits after setting career highs in goals (3), assists (5) and points (8) in 10 games last season. His 69 penalty minutes were one minute shy of his career mark.
Giles (6’4”, 245 lbs., 9/3/75) appeared in 14 games for the Bandits in 2012 after being acquired from the Minnesota Swarm, tallying 49 points (18+31) and 43 loose balls. The 14-year veteran has played in 190 career regular season NLL games, totaling 513 points (228+285).
Irving (6’4”, 205 lbs., 4/9/90) returns for his third season with the Bandits after being selected by the team ninth overall in the 2010 NLL Entry Draft. He has appeared in 18 career regular season games with Buffalo, totaling six points (1+5), 31 loose balls and 75 penalty minutes.
Schmelzle re-joins the Bandits after spending four seasons with the team between 2006 and 2010. In 32 career regular games, all with Buffalo, the defenseman has tallied 17 points (5+12) 145 loose balls. Schmelzle has added one assist and 11 loose balls in three NLL playoff games.
Another former Bandit, Smith (6’1”, 204 lbs., 7/29/80) returns to Buffalo after two years split between Rochester and Philadelphia. The Buffalo native has four points (0+4) and 92 loose balls in 46 career games.
The Bandits signed Gibbons after he attended the team’s free agent tryout in November. An alumnus of Canisius College, the Owen Sound, Ontario native racked up 35 points (26+9) in 14 games on attack during his senior year, including five hat tricks.