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PLL Protected Player Roster Projections

With Premier Lacrosse League protected player rosters (say that three times fast) due on February 28, we decided to make our projections for who each PLL coach will choose to protect from the PLL Expansion Draft on March 11. Protected player rosters for some teams were no-brainers, while most were much more difficult to predict. Coaches value players differently than fans, so there are always bound to be a few surprises. Sometimes those surprises are also based on the level of risk associated with certain players and whether they could get passed over and return to their original team as well. In the end, we both put on our head coach hats and formed our protected player lists for the original seven PLL teams. Let’s discuss!

Archers LC

Adam

  1. A – Connor Fields
  2. A – Grant Ament
  3. A – Will Manny
  4. A – Marcus Holman
  5. M – Ryan Ambler
  6. M – Tom Schrieber
  7. M – Christian Mazzone
  8. M – Josh Currier
  9. M – Mark McNeill
  10. M – Dominique Alexander
  11. LSM – Scott Ratliff
  12. D – Eli Gobrecht
  13. D – Matt McMahon
  14. G – Drew Adams

Hutton

  1. A – Connor Fields
  2. A – Grant Ament
  3. A – Will Manny
  4. A – Marcus Holman
  5. M – Ryan Ambler
  6. M – Tom Schreiber
  7. M – Christian Mazzone
  8. M – Mark McNeill
  9. M – Dominique Alexander
  10. LSM – Scott Ratliff
  11. D – Eli Gobrecht
  12. D – Matt McMahon
  13. G – Drew Adams
  14. G – Adam Ghitelman

Possible Departures: Adam Ghitelman (G), Curtis Corely (D), Jackson Place (D), Jack Rapine (D), Joey Sankey (A/M), Josh Currier (M), Mike Simon (LSM)

Will Coach Chris Bates protect both members of the Archers goalie tandem? (Photo courtesy of the PLL)

Overview

Both of us chose to let defenders Curtis Corely, Mike Simon, Jack Rapine, Evan Connell and Jackson Place test expansion. With the exception of Rapine (who was a rookie in 2020), every one played a part in this vaunted Archers defense that ranked first in Scores Against Average (10.5 SAA) in 2019 and played well again down the stretch in 2020. Knowing that Sean Quirk can only select three players from the Archers (and likely one will be Sankey) guarantees a couple of these defenders will be back next season, but also potentially frees up the team to potentially select a Ben Randall or Liam Byrnes in the PLL Entry Draft and further solidify this defense.

We also chose to let both Stephen Kelly and Brendan Fowler test expansion. With the second pick in each round of the PLL Entry Draft, Coach Bates will be able to upgrade at the stripe if either of these faceoff specialists are scooped up in expansion. If Kelly does get picked up by the Cannons, expect the Archers to possibly target Max Adler or Alex Woodall in March.

Adam

The toughest decision for me with the Archers was whether to keep both halves of the goalie tandem. With the addition of Connor Fields taking up another protected spot, I sided with just one and went with Drew Adams. Coach Chris Bates protected Adams in last year’s expansion draft and I expect him to do the same this year.

Hutton

The Archers are in an interesting spot given the amount of talent they have on both sides of the ball. Last season, due to the PLL 2020 expansion draft rules, Coach Chris Bates had to roll the dice on his goalie tandem of Adam Ghitelman and Drew Adams and opted to let Ghitelman test expansion. The gamble paid off as Ghitelman was not drafted by the Waterdogs and returned to the Archers for 2020.

This year coaches are allowed to use any number of their 14 spots on goalies (as long as they protect at least one), so I don’t think Coach Bates tempts fate and instead protects both Adams and Ghitelman. The logic here is that both have proven the past two seasons (and even during their MLL days) that they are capable of starting in this league and would be a prime pick for Sean Quirk if left unprotected.

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Pro Lacrosse Talk was created by Adam Moore and Hutton Jackson, two former NCAA athletes and lifetime lacrosse fans who recognized the need for a platform devoted solely to professional lacrosse. The Pro Lacrosse Talk podcast is the first and only podcast covering all three professional lacrosse leagues (NLL, PLL, Athletes Unlimited) and remains the main source for pro lacrosse news.

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