The Buffalo Bandits took a good-sized step toward improving their offense on Tuesday when they acquired Pat Saunders from the New England Black Wolves. The Bandits gave up a second-round pick in this fall's draft. Saunders confirmed Tuesday morning on Twitter that he was headed to Buffalo.
Saunders, 27, had 10 goals and 15 assists for 25 points in eight games with the Black Wolves this season. He's been part of the National Lacrosse League since 2009, but didn't become a regular until 2014 with Philadelphia. His offensive totals have gone up every year since then, peaking last year with 44 goals and 32 assists for 76 points.
The Bandits have been interested in Saunders for some time. They signed him to an offer sheet in the summer of 2015. However, New England had the opportunity to keep Saunders by matching that contract offer, and they did so.
The Bandits released forward Daryl Veltman about a week ago, and Saunders certainly adds experience to Buffalo's list of forwards. However, it's easy to wonder if the Bandits felt some urgency to add a scorer because of Ryan Benesch's injury. Benesch took a hit to the head on Feb. 19 against New England, and missed Saturday's game with Toronto. The date of his return is not known.