Lacrosse Flash's 2019 NLL Mock Expansion Draft
We are less than 24 hours away from the 2019 NLL Expansion Draft, where we’ll find out who will be the inaugural members of the New York Riptide and the reincarnated Rochester Knighthawks.
Better late than never, the staff of Lacrosse Flash got together to take over decision making for both the Rochester Knighthawks and New York Riptide for the 2019 NLL Expansion Draft. For this, we decided to go East Coast vs. West Coast - i.e. myself and Smokin Pat Gregoire vs. Tyson Geick and Adam Levi.
Greggy and I will be picking for the Knighthawks, while Adam and Tyson step into the shoes of Riptide general manager Reggie Thorpe.
The process went civilly, as we decided to bunch players from each organization into our picks each round.
A quick reminder on the rules of the draft
There will be a total of 22 picks, with each team getting 11 players.
A team can lose two players, either one to each team or a pair of players to a single expansion franchise.
Each team had the opportunity to protect 11 players. They could protect up to five forwards and one goaltender Any unprotected player can be selected in the draft, including players on the practice roster and protected list.
We cannot promise that Tuesday’s draft will shake out the same way this one did, but we gave it our best shot. Here’s Lax Flash’s mock expansion draft.
1) Shawn Evans, RF, Buffalo Bandits
I know, what a shocker. Shawn Evans looks like a slam dunk pick at No. 1 for the Hawks. The former league MVP began his career in RochVegas and had a great run there before being traded. He’s coming off a 94-point year with Buffalo and Can still be the leader of an offence - his exhibiting that with Peterborough this summer.
2) Nick Weiss, RD, Buffalo Bandits
The 26-year-old just does a little bit of everything. Last season, he finished with over 100 loose balls for the second consecutive year, 16 caused turnovers, and also took some draws for the Bandits last year. He’s a great piece to start building a young defensive core around.
3) Holden Cattoni, LF, Georgia Swarm
Cattoni had a great first campaign with the Swarm and is just 24-years old. He’s already got two seasons with 75-plus points and set a new career-high with 80 this past year. He and Evans can wreak havok on opposing defences.
4) Alex Crepinsek, RD, Georgia Swarm
Crepinsek isn’t going to put up a boatload of points - his career high is 12 - but he will give you great, reliable defensive player. He just goes out and gets the job done and he’s been an underrated contributor on the Swarm’s back end for the majority of his career.
5) Curtis Knight, RF, Saskatchewan Rush
We’ve gone a little forward heavy here, but Knight is a player we couldn’t pass on with this pick. He’s one of Derek Keenan’s favourite pieces and the Rush will definitely miss him. There’s been some talk of the Rush giving up a pick to re-acquire a player taken, and that could very well be Knight. There’s no way the Rush hold onto all of the four firsts they possess.
6) Marty Dinsdale, RF, Saskatchewan Rush
Dinsdale falls into the same category as Knight. He’s a player who’s extremely talented but finds himself exposed because of the crazy depth up front in Saskatchewan. He’ll could have a fresh start somewhere else, but Dinsdale is a West guy, meaning there’s always the possibility of a trade to send him somewhere closer to home.
7) Sheldon Burns, RD, Toronto Rock
Burns was hampered by injuries this season, which saw him have a rough year in terms of producing in transition. But this is an individual that had 23 points in 2018. Expect him to round back into form offensively this upcoming season.
8) Dan Lintner, RF, Toronto Rock
Lintner has never been able to have a starring role with the Rock. He’s always been a secondary option. With added opportunity, he can bust out for his best season as a pro. Kieran McArdle has been linked to New York during the entire process, but Lintner still hasn’t reached his ceiling in the NLL.
9) Chad Cummings, LD, Calgary Roughnecks
Cummings has only played three seasons in the NLL, but his contributions to the Riggers haven’t gone unnoticed - quite the opposite, in fact. The 6-foot-5 defender is a physical force who an get the ball up the floor. His ground ball numbers have improved with each passing year and he’s usually good for around 10 caused turnovers.
10) Dan MacRae, LD, Calgary Roughnecks
Another great contributor out the back door for Calgary, MacRae does a great job of tracking down loose balls and stripping opposing forwards. He had 25 caused turnover last year, which was second-best on the team. is a franchiseable UFA, which means the team would have to choose to slap the franchise tag on either him or Brock. That leaves one individual open to walking in free agency, but as they’re both Ontario born, it would be out of the question that they could get both under contract next year.
11) Steve Fryer, G, Colorado Mammoth
Georgia escapes this draft without losing a goaltender, which means we look to #BigTeamGuy Steve “Deep” Fryer to man the crease in Rochester. He’s paid his dues as a backup and has proven his abilities when given the chance with the Mammoth over the past two seasons.
12) Chris Wardle, LF, Colorado Mammoth
Wardle is coming off a year where he had 33 points in 18 contests for the Mammoth. They were going to lose a forward in this process and the lefty provides a solid option on the crease for New York.
13) Frank Brown, RT, Philadelphia Wings
Brown has proven that he can be a threat wherever you place him on the floor. He’s a large individual who has great athleticism and stick skills. He may have the highest ceiling of any player available in this draft and he’ll only stand to improve in an expanded role with the Knighthawks.
14) Vaughn Harris, RF, Philadelphia Wings
Harris is a jack-of-all-trades player. He’s a guy that can play out either door and give you consistency in both ends. Like Brown, it’ll be good for Harris to land somewhere that’ll give him a bigger role. He hasn’t been able to be a standout player with the previous teams he’s been on.
15) Tyler Digby, RF, New England Black Wolves
Digby had great showings when forced into a bigger role this season with Callum Crawford out of the lineup. He’s a big boy who doesn’t mind tossing his weight around while heading to the net. He’s also got smooth hands on the crease. The pick and roll possibilities with Knight and Evans are something to salivate over.
16) David Brock, RD, New England Black Wolves
Brock was a stud for New England on defence this past season. He had 17 points in transition and finished with 104 loose balls and 34 caused turnovers. He’s a franchiseable UFA, which means he’ll need to have a franchise tag put on or he can walk to free agency.
17) Turner Evans, LF, San Diego Seals
For the second straight year, Turner Evans is taken by an expansion franchise. He’s got chemistry playing alongside cousin Shawn in Peterborough over the last couple of summers and he’s a threat in close.
18) Tyler Carlson, G, San Diego Seals
Big team guys are littered throughout this draft, but the crease is where we get two of the biggest in the entire league. Carlson has started in the NLL previously and has backed up some great goaltenders over the years. The Brampton, Ontario native has spent the last few years out West but probably won’t complain about being a little closer to home.
19) Chris Boushy, RF, Halifax Thunderbirds
Boushy will be sticking around in Rochester, where he had a big second half of the year after being acquired from Calgary. He’s also been putting in a great summer with the Victoria Shamrocks, including the goal of the season - please take the time to look it up. He’s just 21 years old and adds another gun to an already stacked right side.
20) Eric Fannell, LF, Halifax Thunderbirds
Fannell only featured in two games last season, but he’s a big body that can crash the cage and is never scared of getting physical on the offensive end. The former sixth overall pick is a great player to take a flyer on with a pick, especially this late in the draft.
21) Brandon Goodwin, LT, Vancouver Warriors
It’s hard to pick for the Warriors, as nearly their entire roster hails from British Columbia. Goodwin is a big body that can run the floor and chip in some offence. He’d have to be convinced to play on the East Coast, but he could also be flipped back for draft capital.
22) Owen Barker, LD, Vancouver Warriors
Barker has continued to improve since his strong showing with the Maple Ridge Burrards at last year’s Mann Cup, and he stuck out in a good way with the Warriors this year. Despite his smaller stature, he wasn’t afraid to mix it up, displaying some solid, physical play on the back end. Another player hailing from B.C., Barker will have to make a move out East, but he’d be a good add if he did commit to playing in New York.