BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) — The Buffalo Bandits took a step in the search for their goaltender of the future by acquiring 2022 all-rookie goaltender Steve Orleman from New York Riptide in a three-way trade on Wednesday.
The Bandits sent a 2026 third-round pick to New York and forward Nathaniel Kozevnikov to the Saskatchewan Rush in exchange for Orleman and New York’s second-round picks from 2024 and 2025. Saskatchewan sent forward Austin Madronic to the Riptide to complete the Team of three to complete swap pending NLL approval.
Orleman, 24, is in his second NLL season. The 19th pick overall in 2018 enjoyed an all-rookie season in 2022, beating the NLL rookie goalie record for minutes played and saves with 656 while averaging a 12.10 goals-against average. His 2023 was less consistent, however, with Orleman posting a 3-8 record and making 486 saves in 667 minutes of play, eventually conceding goal area to Cameron Dunkerley.
While Orleman had a leading role during parts of his tenure with the Riptide, who finished seventh out of eight teams in the league’s East Conference last season, he won’t have a starting role in Buffalo. Just last month, the Bandits signed goaltender Matt Vinc, the all-time NLL leader in wins, saves and minutes played, to a two-year deal.
The 41-year-old Vinc was on top form in the 2022-23 season – his 17th NLL season – and led the league with 14 wins and 742 saves, averaging 8.82 goals over six games with just one loss. In the deciding game of the championship series in June this year, Vinc Buffalo secured their first title since 2008, conceding just four goals.
With Vinc under contract and continuing to excel in the league despite his advanced age in professional sports, the Canisius graduate will not be sidelined for the Bandits, Bandits general manager Steve Dietrich said in a phone interview with News 4.
Vinc’s starting spot is secure for now and the move for Orleman allows the Buffalo to have a goaltender with plenty of experience under their belt to challenge for second place in the short-term while also looking forward to a potential game without his timeless wonder.
“Nothing is changing at the moment,” says Dietrich. [Vinc] is the starter.”
Although Orleman is not expected to carry the load at the start of next season, Dietrich is confident the 24-year-old will bounce back from his disappointing 2022-23 results. Dietrich said he’s known the Kitchener, Ontario native since he was seven and he had confidence that his character and work ethic would allow him to do his best.
“I know he didn’t like it that much last year,” said Dietrich.
With Vinc firmly entrenched as the Bandits’ starter, Orleman must compete for the back-up role with fellow countryman Devin Shanahan, 24, who was signed by the team in 2021 and posted a 76% 40-minute save rate to the relief of Vinc in 2022- 23 Even though Orleman has seen more NLL minutes, that doesn’t mean he automatically overtakes Shanahan in the pecking order.
“We still believe strongly in Devin Shanahan,” Dietrich said.
Dietrich said the goalkeeping position is arguably the most important in the sport and that having two talented youngsters competing for playing time will only help both be ready if or when they are called up to the lead. Certainly the influence of Vinc and goalkeeping coach Anthony Cosmo – who broke records himself as the Bandit’s goalkeeper from 2012 to 2017 – doesn’t hurt either.
“These two boys [Orleman and Shanahan] “We will learn from two of the best who have ever played this position,” said Dietrich.
In other Bandits news on Wednesday, the team signed defenseman Cam Wyers, the 2022 first-round draft pick, to a two-year contract.
Justin McMullen is from western New York and joined the News 4 team in 2023. You can read more about his work here.