[EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was originally published on our old site on June 28th, 2016. Here, it has been republished on our new site.]
Late this morning, the Denver Outlaws and Ohio Machine went public with a trade that has shocked fans and media alike. The Machine will send goaltender Adam Fullerton to the Outlaws along with a 2017 draft pick. In exchange, the Outlaws will send lacrosse legend John Grant Jr. to Columbus.
Grant is the MLL’s all-time leading scorer with 312 goals to his name. Grant is in his thirteenth season of professional lacrosse and has recorded seven goals and nine assists in the six games he’s suited up for this year. It is safe to say that “Junior” is nothing short of a lacrosse legend here in the state of Colorado. While he has only played 28 games for the Outlaws, Grant has been a key part of the Colorado Mammoth (NLL) offense for years and coaches the 4A State Champion Valor Christian Eagles.
As disappointing as losing an icon like this is, it must be noted that this trade simply gives everyone involved what they’re looking for.
The Outlaws have struggled immensely between the pipes this season. LaPlante and Kelly have shared time, with the former normally starting. LaPlante has given up the most goals in the league (88). Adding goalie Adam Fullerton could prove to be the addition the Outlaws need in order to somehow make the playoffs. While Fullerton has started in a mere four games for Ohio, he has let in only 42 tallies and boasts a save percentage of .416. Fullerton previously played for Denver from 2009-13.
The Machine currently sit two games above .500 and are in fourth place in the league. The addition of another offense threat will help Ohio make a late playoff push and possibly secure a higher seed. The addition of a superstar like Grant could also prove to help the Machine’s attendance numbers. According to PointStreak, Ohio averages a crowd of only 1,821 people. While Major League Lacrosse attendance numbers have never been close to even those of Major League Soccer, any team that can’t draw in more than 2,000 people per game is in serious danger of folding or relocating. Many people in the lacrosse world know the name “John Grant Jr.” very well and having him in the lineup could easily push Ohio’s attendance numbers back to a safe level.
Early analysis of the trade seems to indicate that the two teams involved will prove to be better off. Even Denver’s beloved John Grant Jr. will benefit from moving on.
Earlier this month, Denver’s KMGH ran a story profiling Grant, a player that reporter Lionel Bienvenu calls, “the Peyton Manning of lacrosse.” In the story, Grant discussed how his body just cannot take the blows associated with playing professionally anymore. While Junior never officially announced any plans for retirement, it is clear that his time with both the Outlaws and the Mammoth is coming to an end within a maximum of three years. That being said, before he leaves Grant not only wants to win another championship, but deserves to win one. Just like football legend Peyton Manning, this lacrosse legend deserves to end his career on a high note. Sadly, the Denver Outlaws have only three wins this season and are in no place to win a championship. Ohio on the other hand is in prime position to make the playoffs and, with a little help, could win the championship this year.
If all goes well, then such a storied player can get a storybook ending in Ohio.