Each team in the MLL released their 23-man protected lists on September 23rd, and today teams announced which of the three options for protected players, and how they would be treated in the upcoming expansion draft, they had each selected. I’ll get into the three options teams were given a little later, but it all had to do with how many players teams could protect at certain positions. As a result of all this draft uncertainty, there have also been a number of interesting trades as of late, and it looks like teams are quickly starting to define who is going to be a go-to guy for them.
On December 7th, the two new MLL franchises, the Ohio Machine and Charlotte Hounds will get to pick up new players in the Expansion draft. Current MLL teams were told they could protect 12 field players OR 11 field players and 1 goalie OR 2 goalies and 8 field players. From these rules it is obvious that goalie is an extremely valuable position. Keep 2 goalies and you can protect 2 less players overall. Since teams can only play one goalie at a time though, it makes a lot of sense that every single team decided to protect 1 or zero goalies. Chesepeake was the lone club to not protect a single keeper.
Boston obviously kept Rabil, Boyle, Burke, Poskay, Buchanan, Eck and Ross. They also kept Belisle, Farrell, Heim, Ricci and Smalley. But they put Quinzani, S. Bratton, Downing, Morrissey, Ortolani, Stone, Reid, Sweeney and Turner up to be taken. Some might say why keep a guy like Smalley over Sweeney or Quinzani, but really good D-mid/transition players are hard to come by, and Smalley has more than proved his worth. Quinzani may be headed towards a career with a bank, so his ability to dedicate to the MLL could diminish. Reid and Sweeney are getting older, Farrell will be good for YEARS and Belisle is as solid as they come. Overall, they really did a great job of securing their team both in 2012 and in the gufuture. I would have liked to see them keep Downing as well, but rumor has it that he’s possibly moving to CO, so maybe we’ll see him with the Outlaws someday soon.
Chesepeake kept only field players. No goalies. Phipps and Garrity were both unprotected. They also let DeNapoli, Carroll, Deane, Hardy, Hostetler, Hurley and Smith go unprotected. They are holding onto Abbot, Brooks, Dixon, Ehrmann, Evans, Glading, Hunt, Kimmel, Reynolds, Rubeor, A. Smith and newly acquired Drew Westervelt. Neither of their goalies stood out this season so that move makes sense. And Chesepeake had to let some of their middies go as they had so many, but I am a little surprised they let Justin Smith and Dan Hardy go… I think those guys will have to get picked up by one of the new teams. Not too bad by the Bayhawks. They’re keeping their core intact, but if Ehrmann is one of your D studs, you could be in trouble on that end of the field. He’s not bad, but is he your top pole?
Denver protected Bitter, Bocklet, Cinosky, E. Martin, Mezzanotte, Mundorf, Poillon, Roy, Schmidt, Schwartzman, Seibald and Seiverts. With these guys being protected it is super clear that Denver wants to focus on their defense in 2012, as it was a weaker point for them in the playoffs in 2011, due to a lack of depth. They left C. Martin, Delaney, Ghitelman, Hennessy, Holmes, Kiminer, McCarthy, McGlone, Park, Thompson and Watkins up for grabs in the Expansion Draft. I think they put Connor Martin in that group because they didn’t thin another team would take him. The same is probably true of Jarrett Park as well. But I could see interest in a lot of the other guys. Denver did ok, but not great, and will still have some serious holes to fill in the midfield.
The Hamilton Nationals kept three old guys, 2 not-so-old guys and a TON of young guys. They’re going back to the approach of an athletic and skilled team, and they’re hoping their youth can take them there. Thankfully, they have great young players. The kept J. Thompson, Crowley, Rodgers, Earl, Jamieson, Rubisch and Waldeck and ALL of these young guys can flat out play. To compliment this youth they also kept Joe Walters and Jordan Hall, as well as Merrill, Powell and Kevin Leveille. This is shaping up to be a good team already! The Nationals could lose Bliss, Boltus, Bucktooth, Burns, Dolente, Keough, Marra, Moss, Queener and Ridgway, but shouldn’t be too concerned. They’ve got a great core group already. One of my favorite 12-man lists right here! If the Nats lose Boltus, maybe they’ll try to get Casey to court Ryan Powell back into the league!
The Lizards are a team in NEED of a youth revolution, so their 12-man list was particularly interesting. They kept Adams, Berger, Brenneman, Danowski, Gurenlian, Karalunas, McKee, Peyser, Polanco, Unterstein, Ward and Young. A couple of vets, and a couple of newer guys. Not too shabby. I’m not as high on Polanco or McKee as I once was, but they can still play. Brenneman would seem like a big loss to most, but I’m still not sure he’s MLL ready. LI left R. Bratton, Cochi, Ellis, Fiore, Grant Jr, Greer, Pages, Pastirik, Spallina and M. Unterstein unprotected.
And last but not least comes the Rochester Rattlers. They kept Crotty, Cahill, Card, Catalino, Colburn, Galloway, Guadagnalo, Lade, Miller, Montelli, Striebel and White. So basically, they have a great young goalie, a bevvy of talented young poles, and 3 great attackmen. The only problem? Not many dominant middies outside of Striebel and Cahill and Striebel is a bit older than he once was. Rochester let Caufield, Godoi, Groot, M. Leveille, Manney, McBride, J. Smith and Niewierowksi go unprotected in the draft. Rochester needs middies and they need them bad.
For more info on how many players a team can lose in the draft (limited to 6) and how non-drafted players will be dealt with, check out the MLL Press Release at the bottom of the post in italics.
So let’s get on to the Trades…
Kyle Hartzell was missing from those lists, wasn’t he? Nope. The Bayhawks traded him (their best defender IMHO) to Ohio and got 2 draft picks in exchange. I don’t know if anything else is at play here, but if I were the Bayhawks I would have kept Hartzy and tried to trade Ehrmann.
The Long Island Lizards traded midfielder Peter Mezzanotte and a draft pick to the Denver Outlaws for midfielder Kevin Unterstein. Both players were protected by their new teams.
The Charlotte Hounds picked up defender Ryan Flanagan from the Hamilton Nationals for 2 draft picks. Flanagan played at UNC. Good fit.
The Long Island Lizards traded attackman Jay Card to the Rochester Rattlers for a draft pick. LI left Grant off their protected list, traded card… are they purging Canadians?
The Boston Cannons traded defenseman John Lade to the Rochester Rattlers for a draft pick. Boston is better off with a draft pick than another talented defenseman they couldn’t protect.
The Ohio Machine and Boston Cannons completed a trade for draft picks. Woo?
Expansion Draft Press Release from the MLL:
BOSTON, MA (OCTOBER 12, 2011) – Major League Lacrosse (MLL), the premier professional outdoor lacrosse league, released Wednesday the protected lists for the 2012 expansion draft. Teams were permitted to protect between 10 and 12 players.
Teams had several options in developing their protected lists. They were permitted to retain one goalie and 11 field players, two goalies and eight field players, or no goalies and 12 field players.
Players not protected will be up for grabs in the 2012 MLL Expansion Draft, which will take place on December 7, 2011. During the expansion draft, once a team loses three players, they can pull a player back on to their roster. For each subsequent player lost they can pull back another player. The most players a team can lose is six. Players not selected in the Expansion Draft will be eligible to return to their original teams.
Each MLL team will have the opportunity to fill their 40-man rosters in the upcoming 2012 MLL Supplemental Draft, which will be held on December 14, 2011, and the 2012 MLL Collegiate Draft which will take place on January 13th, 2012.