The PLL entry draft was our first taste of the PLL/MLL merger and it didn’t disappoint. We saw 24 players enter the league with many more entering the player pool. We look at how each addressed the draft.
For a look at Part 1, click here.
PLL Entry Draft Roster Recaps, Part 2
Couch Soudan inherited a roster that no one expected much out of, made some immediate changes, and all of a sudden the Chrome were fun to watch. How does he continue the progress they made in year one? He first needs to address the retirement of Matt Danowski (A) and the losses of Reece Eddy (LSM), Jake Pulver (D), and Sam Duggan (Dmid) through the expansion draft. Don’t forget, the Chrome are also carrying just one goalie (John Galloway), who has a limited shelf life.
During the PLL entry draft, Coach Soudan seemingly ruined the plans of several other teams while improving his own. He first picked Randy Staats to upgrade the attack unit and add a player who can create offense out of nothing while drawing attention away from everyone else, a player that I assume the Cannons wanted with the very next pick.
He then chose to address the goalie position by playing who I voted as the MLL MVP last season in Sean Sconone. Sconone is an elite ball stopper but could learn a bit under Galloway before being handed the keys. The one worry for me is his ability to clear, and given the shorter field and quicker pace in the PLL, quick clears are a must.
Lastly, the guy I think all fans wanted to head to the Whips to play with Matt Rambo, Soudan picked up an absolute unit in midfielder Colin Heacock. Heacock gives the Chrome the ability to switch their college draft focus from midfield to defense, while adding a scoring threat with plenty of range. I see Randy Staats drawing doubles and hitting Heacock with step down skip passes in our future.
Coach Nat wasn’t messing around this offseason and was also seemingly tired of waiting for one of his attackmen to take control of the offense. He opted to trade for Rob Pannell (A), who will literally will the offense forward. Hopefully we’ve seen the last of those long lulls in offensive production from the ‘Woods. Overall I would argue the expansion draft was kind to the Redwoods. They will feel the loss of Brent Adams the most, but every team lost a player it wanted to keep. The losses of attackmen Clarke Petterson and Brendan Gleason meant the team is only carrying three healthy attackmen, a need Coach Nat was eager to address.
With their first pick, they picked Ryan Lee (A) at No. 11 overall. This could be the highest value pick in the entire PLL entry draft, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Lee ends up being the Redwoods’ leading scorer to end the year. He knows how to get open, and even when he isn’t open, he’s open. Get the ball to him within 10 yards of the goal, and he’ll find a way.
With their only other pick, Coach Nat shored up and added depth to the defensive mid unit by picking Isaiah Davis-Allen. IDA will terrorize in transition. His speed with the shortened field means he’s going to get plenty of looks in the clear, and I’m putting the +/- at 4.5 goals this summer.
Coach Copelan had perhaps the simplest PLL entry draft in terms of addressing needs. Imagine a fantasy football draft where you’ve reached your limit at RB/WR, and now you need to address a few small holes. That’s where the Waterdogs were on draft night. They traded for Ryan Brown to solidify the attack unit (losing Ryan Drenner in the expansion draft), their midfield remained unchanged, but their already thin defense took a hit during the expansion draft by losing Brodie Merrill.
Copelan decided to address the defense, drafting Liam Byrnes and Ben Randall. Byrnes, the 2019 MLL Defensive Player of the Year, adds a third Marquette pole to the ‘Dogs but more importantly adds an experienced defender who can step into Merrill’s shoes as the defensive commander. He’s also plug-and-play between the lines, which will help spur some transition offense. Randall is the more under appreciated of the two poles, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he finds himself as an All-Star two or three years down the road.
With the second round pick, the Waterdogs selected an actual Waterdog Mikie Schlosser (M). He immediately becomes one of the best initiators in the league, understands how to manufacture a slide, and knows when to get the ball out on time. He’s even been known to score on alley dodges.
The Whips lost Jeremy Sieverts (M), Joe LoCascio (M), and Tyler Warner (M) to retirement while losing Max Tuttle (M) and Jacob Stover (G) to the expansion draft. All things considered, the Whips’ kept the majority of their core while losing a ton of depth. The biggest and most immediately impactful loss is Warner, as he was a world-class SSDM.
Going into the PLL entry draft, Coach Stagnitta needed to add depth through the midfield, and he did just that. Chris Aslanian (A/M) showed out in the MLL bubble and proved he can do just about anything on the offensive end. This adds a fourth attackman who can run out of the box and test the abilities of opposing LSMs and defensive mids.
Charlie Hayes may have surprised some people because IDA (a Maryland alum) was still on the board, but anyone who had ever watched an Outlaws game knew Hayes is the real deal. Often overlooked because of his size and his lack of pedigree (Detroit-Mercy grad), he is one of the best on-ball defenders in the draft.
The gem of the third round, Bryan Cole (M) is a great pick up because not only does he add depth through the midfield, but he also adds a different layer to the offense. Unlike the rest of the offense, which consists heavily of traditional field players, Cole is a Canadian who knows how to work the two man and disappear off ball. Expect to see Cole and Zed work some beautiful two mans. Oh, and he played at Maryland, *surprised face.*
Did you miss part one of the PLL entry draft recap where we looked at the Archers, Atlas, Chaos, and Chrome? Read it here.