The PLL entry draft completed on Monday night with all seven teams receiving a chance to address needs created by expansion or other roster moves. With the current situation created by the outbreak of coronavirus, it’s now unclear just what will be available in the collegiate draft, as seniors who had their seasons cancelled have been awarded an extra year of eligibility and now may not leave school to come to the pros. With that, each pick in the two-round entry draft was critical.
Waterdogs LC: Zach Currier, M (1st overall) and Ryland Rees, LSM (8th overall)
The Waterdogs took the player who is built to be an MVP-caliber middie, Zach Currier. Currier is elite in all phases, and offers the type of versatility that Coach Andy Copelan clearly values. Currier will be on wings, on defense, initiating on offense, extra man, and probably on man down to be honest. If it’s up to him, he won’t sub off. His 2017 senior season at Princeton stat line reads like Steve McNair’s last year at Alcorn State. That’s exactly what the PLL has shown to be of utmost importance.
In the second round, Coach Copelan took another Team Canada star in Ryland Rees. Rees had 63 ground balls last summer and showed the range to be a threat from two. He also caused 15 turnovers. He can reasonably play LSM or down low. The Waterdogs grabbed two more players who can go from end to end, and be dangerous while doing so.
Chrome LC: Jesse Bernhardt (2nd overall) and Donny Moss (9th overall)
Chrome really didn’t have a need on the offensive end. Yes, if it’s me, I’m taking Pannell here, and I imagine you can find quite a few other people who would too. But really, the Chrome’s biggest need is on the defensive end. They lost Joe Fletcher to retirement, Chris Sabia to expansion, and their defensive unit was in need of some upgrading anyway. In Jesse Bernhardt, they get a championship level defender and leader. He had 19 caused turnovers for the 2019 MLL Champion Chesapeake Bayhawks last year and picked up 31 ground balls.
Donny Moss played in 2018 for, you guessed it, Tim Soudan’s Rochester Rattlers. Moss is a quality D-middie who isn’t going to wow you in the highlights every week, but like Bernhardt, will offer a veteran presence and a voice that Soudo knows on the defensive end.
Atlas LC: Rob Pannell (3rd overall) and Craig Chick (10th overall)
Alright everyone, get those gifs/memes off. Let’s all watch the scene in JFK where Kevin Costner lays out how Kennedy REALLY was killed and toss some theories out. Joking aside, Rob Pannell slipping is eyebrow raising, but I’m sure the Atlas don’t care why the teams ahead of them didn’t take who is probably the best attackman in the world. Pannell needs little in the way of explanation or analysis. He’s Rob Pannell. He’ll play on an attack with Ryan Brown and Eric Law that will carve people up. Of course, we all went over the moon for the Atlas personnel before last summer, and we saw how that turned out.
Craig Chick becomes an immediate starter for Atlas joining Tucker Durkin and Cade Van Raaphorst. Craig Chick is a turnover machine. Kyle Devitte put it perfectly: people hate to play against Craig Chick. With that close unit and Kyle Hartzell at LSM, the caused turnover numbers for the Atlas should jump up nicely.
Archers LC: Eli Gobrecht (4th overall) and Christian Mazzone (11th overall)
Archers grab a solid, reliable defender in Eli Gobrecht. He missed a chunk of last season with a collarbone injury, but he showed that he can be a guy that is going to make the important plays for you every week, and you’ll never have to question his effort. Gobrecht’s got a bit of a nasty streak to him too, and he can comfortably be a part of the transition game, which is something the Archers need more of from their close defense unit.
Christian Mazzone fills a big need for the Archers after expansion cost them Dan Eipp and Ben McIntosh. Another dodger and strong athlete from the midfield, taking some of the onus off of Tom Schreiber to create from that part of the field. Christian Mazzone is as good a pick as anyone made all night.
Whipsnakes LC: Zed Williams (5th overall) and TJ Comizio (12th overall)
The Whips lost Ben Reeves, Connor Kelly, Drew Snider, and Ryan Drenner to expansion. That’s a LOT of offensive firepower. More than that, that’s a lot of different spots. Zed can pile up goals with the best of them (Joe Keegan loves to point out he had 444 goals in high school), and has a skill set that allows him to do so from a number of places on the field. With so many spots to fill, Williams goes a long way to slotting in to a few of those openings at once.
TJ Comizio was a monster in the MLL last summer. His tank is never empty. There’s probably a game going somewhere right now, and TJ Comizio is playing in it, on his second up and down, pushing the ball in transition. 14 points, 43 ground balls, plays wings, plays strong defense as a shorty, putting this guy on a roster with Jake Bernhardt, Ty Warner, and John Haus is wild. Coach Stagnitta will have interesting choices to make at midfield when he picks his 18 every week.
Redwoods LC: Finn Sullivan, D (6th overall) and Greg Puskuldjian, Faceoff Specialist (13th overall)
The Redwoods will likely lose Matt Landis to military service. Finn Sullivan was a DPOY candidate last year in 2019, and is a solid defender. He is strong in a lot of fundamental defensive areas, and his game should fit in nicely with this Redwoods defensive group that was absolutely dominant at times in year one. The Woods have a lot of very strong poles already, but if Sullivan can fit his game alongside Eddy Glazener and Garrett Epple, he’ll be a valuable piece.
Greg Puskuldjian is a no brainer for the Woods. With the retirement of Greg Gurenlian, a rather large hole exists at the faceoff spot. Puskuldjian won just under 56% of his draws last year, and picked up 94 ground balls. Don’t sell him short by saying he’s just a guy who’s available to take Beast’s spot, he’s an elite faceoff man and every possession counts.
Chaos LC: Dillon Ward, G (7th overall) and Jason Noble, D (14th overall)
I figured Ward would go here or with the next pick. Chaos and Waterdogs each have an open goalie spot, and Ward has a legit claim to being the best goalie in the world. If you have a goalie opening, you take him. The Chaos have Blaze Riorden, reigning PLL goalie of the year. The line the top of the PLL and the bottom, in terms of goalies, is razor thin. Having depth at goalie, particularly with these two, is a hell of a security blanket for Coach Towers.
The Chaos also lost ageless wonder Brodie Merrill to expansion. Let’s be clear and say replacing a player like Merrill is impossible. His departure robs the Chaos of a defensive leader, field general, and incredibly gifted off ball defender and ground ball machine. Jason Noble is another defensive veteran who has played on the biggest stages, and should be able to provide some of the leadership that Brodie Merrill did. The only hesitation here is that Noble has been away from the field game for a few years, and he’ll have to get the rust off in a hurry.
Let us know how you think each PLL team did in the entry draft. Which player are you looking forward to watching suit up with their new team the most?