One of the MLL’s two new franchises, the Charlotte Hounds, recently acquired attackman Billy Bitter and defenseman Brett Schmidt for future draft picks from the Denver Outlaws. Charlotte gave up 2 expansion draft picks (#3 and 6) as well as a pick in the in the 2012 collegiate draft. Charlotte needs players, so one might ask why they would be willing to give up 3 good draft picks for only 2 players, but they also need guys who are going to be ready to go right away, and Bitter and Schmidt definitely fit that mold.
Photo Courtesy Lax.com
There are definitely those guys who are able to jump into the MLL for the first time and play right away, but they are pretty far and few between. It usually takes players a year or two to adjust to the pro game, so having at least a little experience on any team is key. For an expansion franchise, this is even more important.
Bitter is obviously a big name in lacrosse, but he is also something of a local legend in the North Carolina area. He played his collegiate ball locally at UNC and people in the area will be glad to see him playing for their new pro team. And that makes this trade even more worthwhile… not only did Charlotte pick up a proven MLL player, but they also got a guy who brings an instant connection to local fans. Sure, Chapel Hill isn’t Charlotte, but if people follow lax in the state of NC, they know who Billy Bitter is, and that makes this a great pick up by the Hounds.
Charlotte also picked up Brett Schmidt from the Denver Outlaws, and Schmidt played for Maryland in college. Another ACC guy? Not a bad move! Throw in the fact that Schmidt is one heck of a defender and the trade looks even better. THEN, when you add in that Schmidt was drafted by the Charlotte Copperheads in the NALL, it makes even more sense. AND finally, we learn that the NALL franchise and the MLL franchise in Charlotte are both operated by Wade Leaphart and it seems like a no-brainer. Schmidt is CLEARLY a guy they really want playing lax in North Carolina!!!!!
I would expect Denver to use at least one of their daft picks to find a top-level defenseman. Even after trading away Schmidt, they still have a great defensive core, but their issue on that end of the field last year was depth at the pole position. They had a great top 4, but when injuries occured, they couldn’t maintain their level. The Outlaws still need another good pole.
I am hoping that they use their other two picks on midfielders. They have some talent in the midfield for sure, but I really don’t know if they need another attackman. Brendan Mundorf is still one of the best in the game, and people can give Connor Martin all the crap they want, but that cat can straight up play. If you think he’s a gimick, you haven’t seen him play, or you’re being willfully ignorant. You don’t like his schtick? Fine, but don’t tell me he’s a bad lacrosse player. That’s just ridiculous. Denver’s hole is in their midfield, and it showed last year when Max Seibald was slowed for much of the season by injury. Now Max is back and 100% healthy, but Denver could still use another great middie, and it looks like they’ll have that chance!
It seems to me that in a lot of MLL trades one team is the clear loser and one is the clear winner. But this trade actually makes a lot of sense for everyone involved, and is a good step towards making Charlotte a legitimate first-year squad.
The Full Press Release from the MLL can be found on MajorLeagueLacrosse.com