The Fix is my latest series, jumping into the GM chair for the bottom four PLL teams, coming up with an offseason plan for how to fix the squad and get them back into contention. This includes strategy and targets in both drafts, plus some fantasy trades and other moves I think could help bring success. Next up: Waterdogs LC.
Let’s do our darndest to make these dogs less dark and more bite.
What’s wrong with Waterdogs?
Well, the expansion team was always going to struggle in year one considering it more or less had a roster of new guys and leftovers. Not an insult, just unprotected players. Anyway, things were worsened when Zach Currier, the No. 1 pick in the Entry Draft by the ‘Dogs, got hurt early on, and starting goalie Charlie Cipriano was injured later into the Championship Series.
Not to say things were all bad for Waterdogs LC. Connor Kelly continued his growth into a top-10 midfielder. Zach Currier looked, well, like Zach Currier after his return from injury, helping lead Waterdogs to its first-ever win. Rookie goalie Matt DeLuca looked pretty good in his relief of Cipriano and could be a young building block for the franchise.
How does Waterdogs’ College Draft look?
Waterdogs have the No. 2, No. 11, No. 18, and No. 27 picks in the 2021 College Draft, giving it a good chance to add talent where it’s needed. Ryan Boyle talked repeatedly on the broadcasts last year about the team’s need for a true No. 1 attackman – someone to quarterback that side of the ball. Similarly, perhaps, to what the Archers have done with Grant Ament, allowing him to run the show from behind, while Schreiber runs it from up top. That’s been stuck in my brain ever since.
Quietly, Waterdogs LC actually has the third-best defense in the PLL by average score allowed in 2020, so I’m going to aim most of its help at fixing the offense, which ranked one goal ahead of Atlas for sixth place in scoring.
Round 1, Pick 2: Chris Gray, Attack, UNC
Assuming that Michael Sowers goes to Atlas at No. 1 overall, this is a no-brainer pick to me. If you want a top-tier, true blue No. 1 attackman to quarterback your offense, Gray is clearly the best option on the board. He’s proven to be so much more than just a stats guy for UNC, raising the floor and the ceiling of an entire offense. Instantly the best attackman on Waterdogs.
Round 2, Pick 3: Jamie Trimboli, Midfield, Syracuse
If Trimboli is gone, I’d think another midfielder, such as Tanner Cook or Dox Aitken, could be in play. If he’s on the board here, though, I think he’s a wonderful fit with the Waterdogs offense. He’s a big, bruising dodger with a good outside shot who has proven with his superstar linemates at ‘Cuse that he can be The Guy or A Guy in any given play and excel.
Round 3, Pick 2: Danny Logan, SSDM, Denver
The Waterdogs have a solid defense, but I think adding another quality SSDM would be beneficial for this team. Currier gets asked to do too much, if that’s even possible for him. Danny Logan seems like a good fit in this spot. I think Logan is the second or third best SSDM in this draft class but also assume Ryan Terefenko is gone in this spot, and Logan is no consolation prize. He’s a great middie.
Round 4, Pick 3: Larson Sundown, Attack, RIT
Sundown destroyed the single-season points record at Limestone before transferring to RIT for his final season. I just love watching Sundown play, and I think he’s worth this type of flyer as a position-flexible offensive weapon who could add a little extra spice and creativity to a sometimes-stagnant offense.
What about its Entry Draft?
Well, it could certainly be worse. Waterdogs LC has the No. 4 selection in each round of the Entry Draft, which means that, while it’ll miss out on a franchise-altering player in Lyle Thompson, it’s still in a good spot to get a highly impactful player in each round.
Let’s fantasy draft some dudes.
Round 1, Pick 4: Randy Staats, Attack
Lol jk, Waterdogs does get a franchise-altering offensive player after all. In this hypothetical, I have Lyle going at the top spot, Bucaro going at No. 2, and a defensive player going at No. 3 to Atlas, meaning Staats is available for the Waterdogs. As I previously predicted in my All-PLL teams, I think Staats becomes a top-10 attackman in the PLL. He seemed a little bored at times in MLL, but I think the merger lights that competitive fire, and he goes on a tear this year. Regardless, a big attackman is something the Waterdogs don’t really have, and Staats can easily coexist with Gray.
Round 2, Pick 4: Mark Cockerton, Midfield
Mark Cockerton fits literally any offense. He’s one of the best shooters in the world, a fantastic off-ball player, and a good enough dodger on his own. Putting Chris Gray and Randy Staats on this offense and letting Cockerton float around up top lurking as a step down option? Sure, I’d love to watch that.
Round 3, Pick 4: Dylan Molloy, Attack
Okay, hear me out: I picked this for three reasons. The first two are legitimate. He’s a physical presence that this team doesn’t have other than, in this fantasy, Staats, and making a team body both of them would be asking a lot. The second reason is that Molloy feels like a guy who still has some untapped potential but hasn’t been in the right offense since Brown. The main reason, though, is because I think it would be incredibly fun if the Waterdogs could run a Tewaaraton line of Dylan Molloy, Ben Reeves, and Chris Gray (too soon?).
What trades could Waterdogs make?
Waterdogs LC trades the No. 18 pick in the 2021 College Draft to Chaos LC in exchange for attackman Connor Fields
Fields’ value has never been lower. Still, this is a low-risk, high-reward trade for the Waterdogs. If they could get Fields back on track, they suddenly find themselves with a top-five offensive player in the league. Chaos, meanwhile, solves that awkward chemistry issue and gets to add some depth in the draft. Perhaps a faceoff guy?
Waterdogs LC trades the No. 4 pick in the Entry Draft to Chaos LC in exchange for goalie Dillon Ward
Of course, this assumes that Chaos chooses to protect him. Yes, Matt DeLuca looked pretty good last summer, but we’re talking about one of the, what, three-best goalies in the world? Nobody that Waterdogs LC can draft at No. 4 is, in my opinion, worth more to the team’s ability to compete right away than Dillon Ward.
Waterdogs LC trades attackman Ryan Drenner to Whipsnakes LC in exchange for a 2022 College Draft 3rd Rounder
I’m guessing Whipsnakes gets raided on offense by the expansion draft. Waterdogs now have too many guys in the attack stable after our fantasy college and entry drafts. We help them both out, sending a familiar face back to the Whipsnakes’ offense and getting Waterdogs more ammo for another loaded draft class in 2022.
What’s next on The Fix?
Each day this week, my offseason plan for one of the bottom four teams in the PLL will be released. Here is the schedule and where you can find The Fix for the lower half of the league:
Tuesday – Atlas LC
Wednesday – Waterdogs LC
Thursday – Chrome LC
Friday – Chaos LC
BONUS – Redwoods LC