6/3/10 3:24 PM
Toronto Nationals Draft Preview
By Redmond Zmudzien
The 2010 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft will take place at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. on Sunday June 6. The draft is where many teams look to restock for next year or add some top flight talent to complement their run at the title. Considering the Toronto Nationals are 0-3 heading into the weekend, the outcome of their game against the Machine this Saturday could determine which direction they choose to go in.
This year’s draft has plenty of top goal scorers, which is exactly what Toronto needs at this point as they are last in the league in goals scored with 29. However Toronto does not have a pick in the first round, so unless the Nats reverse course and swing a deal they won’t be picking until the second round.
The Nationals first selection is No. 8 overall in the second round. The Nationals traded out of the first round, dealing the No. 6 overall selection to Chesapeake in a draft pick swap. Chesapeake received Toronto’s No. 6, No. 15 and No. 24 overall, while the Nationals acquired Chesapeake’s No. 8 overall and its first round pick in 2011. The Nationals also pick again at No. 9 and have seven selections total in the eight-round draft. The seven selections are tied with Chicago for a league low.
Whichever direction Toronto decides to go in with its first two selections needs to be the right one though because the Nationals don’t pick again until the fifth round. The Nationals will pick at No. 26, 30, 36, 42, and 48 overall. The Nationals have needs in a few areas and they plan to address as many aspects as they can.
“I would say anytime you are 0-3 to start the year, there are areas we would like to improve. We have run into a little injury trouble early this year,” said Toronto Nationals President and General Manager of Lacrosse Operations, Stu Brown. “As such we are looking to add some depth at the midfield and defensive positions. Faceoffs have also been an area of weakness for us through three games so we may address that need as well.”
The draft is loaded with scoring machines at the top end including prized talent and consensus No. 1 overall pick, Duke attackman Ned Crotty. Crotty helped lead his team to a National Championship with a 6-5 overtime win over Notre Dame on Memorial Day. Crotty netted 23 goals and notched 63 assists for a total of 86 points on the year. Other top players include attackman Curtis Dickson out of Delaware who scored 62 goals this year and Crotty’s Duke teammate Max Quinzani, who was the Blue Devils’ top goal scorer in 2010 with 68 tallies. Quinzani also collected 14 assists for a total of 82 points. Ken Clausen figures to be the top longpole in the draft coming out of Virginia as a dangerous takeaway defenseman.
Someone the Nationals could be targeting is Syracuse attackman and Ontario native, Cody Jamieson, who was second in scoring for the Orange this year with 41 points. Jamieson is a dangerous player who can find the net and also figures to still be on the board when the Nationalss are on the clock. Jamieson has a knack for the dramatics as well, evidenced by his game winning goal in overtime of the National Championship game against Cornell last season. Jamieson would provide another local name to an already heavily Canadian-laden team and a sure scoring option.
“I’ve been watching Cody play for 10 years or more and I’ve always thought he has the skill to be a top player at the professional level,” Brown said. “I think he would be a good fit with our existing attack, and could potentially help us get a little more consistent scoring.”
A dark horse candidate for Toronto could be Notre Dame goalie Scott Rodgers who made himself a household name with lacrosse fans over the course of the NCAA tournament. Rodgers came just a couple of saves short from hoisting the NCAA trophy himself, but he did hold one of the highest scoring teams in the nation in Duke to a mere six goals in the title game. The Nationals may be looking to add a new name in net after a rough start between the pipes for Doc Schneider and Brett Queener. The pick makes sense since Toronto is known for splitting time between its goalies no matter the circumstances, so perhaps Rodgers works himself into the rotation. Rodgers was one of the top goalies in the nation with a 7.56 goals against average and was named to the All-Tournament team as the Most Outstanding Player of the 2010 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship. So would Toronto take a flyer on a new goalie if given the opportunity?
“I think he’s got the size and skill to be a great goalie at the MLL level. If he’s around at nine we may be tempted to grab him,” Brown said. “I think that goes for any of the top players to be honest. Every team goes into the draft looking to address certain needs, but the reality is that in the first two rounds most teams take the best player available and we won’t be any different, if Rodgers or any of the other top guys fall to eight or nine.”
The Toronto Nationals may opt to pick a midfielder who can score or they may try and get younger at attack, but they definitely have a set plan said Brown.
“We have been working on our draft plan for the last few months and have been focusing on several players that we are really high on, but based on the way these things usually work we will be adjusting our plan on the fly based on who goes in the top five picks. That will really dictate what we do,” he said. “It should be interesting either way. Based on what I think most teams will do in the first round we will end up with the guys we want and be able to fill our holes accordingly.”
Whichever direction the Nationals decide to go, the future of their roster will be built Sunday night starting at 7 p.m. and it can be seen live on ESPN3 and Universal Sports.