Monday was the day many NLL fans had been waiting for, Draft Day 2014. All teams looking to improve their chances of hoisting the Champions Cup with some rookie talent.
The Vancouver Stealth did not wait till the draft to start before making waves in a blockbuster trade. GM Doug Locker made the moves necessary to bolster Vancouver’s transition game and left side, by acquiring Johnny Powless and Joel McCready from the defending champion Rochester Knighthawks. Both players should make an immediate impact on the squad that struggled in both these areas for the Stealth last season.
Later in the day the Stealth made another draft day trade with the Buffalo Bandits. Vancouver was able to beef up their defense with the acquisition of both Rory Smith, and goaltender Eric Penney. With the loss of Mike Grimes in a trade earlier this offseason and free agent Jeff Moleski headed back to Calgary it was vital to fill these roles with some veteran defense. Rory Smith and Tyler Burton who was signed earlier this offseason should both contribute to fill the void left in the Stealth’s roster.
After the dust had settled from all the draft picks being traded for savvy vets the Stealth had hit the board in selecting 7 rookies. They started in the 2nd round taking transition player Conrad Chapman from Nanaimo. The Stealth followed up by taking Brandon Clelland, Dan Keane, and Jakob Doucet in the 3rd round. Clelland and Doucet both experienced defenders, Clelland from Orangeville, and Doucet played with New West. Keane a right handed shooter from Brampton should find himself in great company with both second year player Tyler Digby and Rhys Duch if he cracks the lineup come training camp.
Matt Delmonico was the lone pick for Vancouver in the 4th round. The righty was also the only collegiate player drafted by the Stealth out of Seton Hill University, could also be another great addition the already strong right side of the Stealth’s offense. Knowing that their defense needed to be a focus coming into the draft the Stealth closed things out with 2 much-needed defenseman. DJ Saari, and Steve Ferdinandi, Saari a member of the 2013 Junior Adanacs Minto Cup team, and Ferdinandi the captain of the Junior A Salmonbellies.
The draftees and acquired players will join the rest of the Stealth roster for training camp in early December, to try and make the final roster for the 2015 season. The Stealth open their season on the road against the Calgary Roughnecks on January 3rd. January 10th marks the Stealth’s home opener at the LEC, where they will face the Toronto Rock. Season tickets for the Stealth start at $99, and are available through www.StealthLAX.com