The 2014 MLL Draft came and went this past Friday as teams strove to continue to get better for 2014. Some teams like the Charlotte Hounds and Rochester Rattlers did just that, while others such as Denver and Boston did just OK. Now that we have had time to digest everything that happened this past weekend in Philadelphia here are the teams that really made a difference for their franchise.
The first thing that stood out to me as the draft progressed was how well Charlotte drafted. For the second consecutive year, the Hounds may have the most talented rookie class in the MLL. Off the heels of having as many as eight guys make heavy contributions last season on their way to the MLL Championship, the Hounds added another five or six guys who could contribute for 2014.
First off, the Hounds fortified their defense by drafting Maryland defenseman Michael Ehrhardt and Duke defenseman Henry Lobb. Ehrhardt is seen as one of the best defensemen in the country this year and Lobb could easily be regarded as the best defenseman on his own team ahead of Luke Duprey and Chris Hipps, and Duprey went ahead of Lobb.
The Hounds weren’t done though because they drafted a lot of impressive offensive talent in Maryland midfielder Mike Chanenchuck, Towson A/M Thomas DeNapoli, Loyola attackman Justin Ward and Duke attackman Josh Dionne. Finally, they fortified the special teams groups in Duke faceoff man Brendan Fowler and Loyola SSDM Pat Laconi.
The Hounds now have great depth everywhere on the roster. The additions of Dionne and Ward are especially big considering both Matt Danowski and Ryan Young could both be gone for Team USA. Plus, Ward reunites with Sawyer and Lusby for Loyola’s championship attack line.
Finally, Laconi adds the second player to what could be a strong SSDM unit as he reunites with teammate Josh Hawkins. The Hounds will be scary good this year.
The other team that really did well was Rochester who needed to rebuild after essentially giving away every good player they had outside of John Ranagan, John Lade and John Galloway. They made the smart, easy pick by taking Jordan Wolf from Duke who is a goal scoring machine and should take some pressure off Ranagan and former Duke teammate David Lawson.
The Rattlers weren’t done as they added both Thompson brothers to their attack unit in Miles and Ty Thompson. Both should make for a really exciting unit to go along with Wolf and the Leveille brothers.
Finally, they got what I would consider to be the steal of the draft in John Locascio in the beginning of Round 4. The Villanova produt had 53 caused turnovers last year as a junior and will provide some versatility for Rochester as he can play both down low or at LSM. Rattler fans should also keep an eye on Tom LaCrosse, a midfielder from Penn State as he can be a solid second or third line guy and will be featured in Penn State’s offense this season.
Both the Rattlers ad Hounds had extremely strong drafts and if I was to pick, I’d lean towards the Hounds draft as this year’s best haul.