Welcome to the Panther City mock expansion draft!
The Panther City Lacrosse Club will be the latest expansion outfit in the NLL, and the team will do its expansion draft on Tuesday, June 29, at 7 p.m. EST from Fort Worth, Texas.
Expansion drafts are an interesting animal, and this one will be no different as we learn how head coach Tracey Kelusky wants to form his first squad. It used to be that teams were stuck with roster leftovers and forced to build a competitive team through the draft and trades over a few seasons. But with the NLL’s current approach to expansion, the league’s newest additions get a chance to pick up serious contributors right away.
What make this particular draft even more interesting is the recent announcement of the new Las Vegas franchise, meaning this expansion draft is truly for this season before Panther City will be on the other side of the fence. This draft is also a little cleaner than the recent Riptide/Knighthawks dual expansion where two teams were competing for the same pool of players. In this case, Kelusky will be able to choose one player from the unprotected lists of each team in the league.
The other disclaimer going into this is some of the unprotected players (mostly established veterans) are unrestricted free agents, so they realistically won’t be drafted this time around.
For inspiration, I looked back at the Philadelphia Wings expansion draft (where Kelusky was an assistant coach) to see what Kelusky might do. My guess based on that? Putting a premium on scoring talent. So with that, here’s a rapid fire of who I think Kelusky may pick from each team with my Panther City mock expansion draft:
Panther City Mock Expansion Draft
Albany FireWolves – Garrett Thul, LF
Buffalo Bandits – Frank Brown, T
Calgary Roughnecks – Dan Taylor, LF
Colorado Mammoth – Chris Wardle, LF
Georgia Swarm – Zach Miller, LF
Halifax Thunderbirds – Stephen Keogh, RF
New York Riptide – Connor Kelly, RF
Philadelphia Wings – Anthony Joaquim, D
Rochester Knighthawks – Matt Bennett, D
San Diego Seals – Brandon Clelland, T
Saskatchewan Rush – Matt Hossack, D
Toronto Rock – Billy Hostrawser, D
Vancouver Warriors – Justin Salt, D
Am I wrong? Absolutely! But hopefully I’m right on at least a few of these picks. My mock expansion draft does also leave Panther City without a goalie, which it would probably have acquire via a trade or free agency.