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Bandits have busy week ahead

The Buffalo Bandits have only had two players in their history honored as the Most Valuable Player of the National Lacrosse League. John Tavares and Steve Dietrich could have company by Tuesday night.

That’s when the NLL will announce the winner of the 2016 MVP award. Dhane Smith of the Bandits is considered the favorite to take home the honor at a ceremony in suburban Toronto.

Smith, who turned 24 on Friday, had one of the best years in league history. He set league records with 72 goals and 137 points in a season in leading the Bandits to the NLL Finals.

Other Bandits have a chance at league honors on Tuesday. They are Steve Priolo for defenseman of the year, Andrew Watt as teammate of the year, Troy Cordingley as coach of the year, Dietrich as general manager of the year, and Scott Loffler as executive of the year.

After the league awards are handed out, Tavares will take one last bow for his playing career. He will be formally inducted into the NLL Hall of Fame. Tavares will be joined by ex-Bandit Tracey Kelusky along with Josh Sanderson.

Dietrich will be busy on Monday as well. That’s when the NLL Entry Draft will be held. The Bandits do not have a first-round pick (it was traded to Georgia), but they have three selections in the second round. The time around the draft often is when teams trade players, and it’s certainly possible that Dietrich will try to use all those second-rounders in an attempt to move up into the first round or to add depth to the roster. Buffalo lost Jay Thorimbert and Chad Culp to New England in free agency earlier this year.

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