Matthews Will Be Key Part of Rush

When selecting players in an entry draft there is always a risk factor. Despite how much
homework has been done on a player, a team never truly knows how a pick will fair in
the league. Derek Keenan, General Manager and Head Coach of the Edmonton Rush,
is also a coach at the junior A level with the Whitby Warriors and has an opportunity to
groom young players that other pro coaches do not. Keenan and the Rush chose to
utilize this asset, selecting primarily a young crop of ex-Warriors as well as some local
Albertan talent.

First Pick (1st Round 1st Overall): Mark Matthews- (University of Denver, Whitby

Mark Matthews has the potential to be the league’s next breakout star. At 6’4 210
pounds, Matthews is a rare combination of size and skill that NLL coaches dream about.
Having already been coached by Keenan as a member of the Whitby Warriors, it will be
an easier transition into Edmonton’s offensive system for the most pro ready player in
the draft. Whether it has been through dominating opposing defenses while at
University of Denver, winning two Minto Cups (with two different teams), or his most
recent success with the MLL’s Denver Outlaws, Matthews has excelled at every level he
has played and the Rush will look for him to continue this trend in the 2013 season.

Second Pick (1st Round 8th Overall): Curtis Knight- (Whitby Warriors)

With their second pick in the first round, Edmonton chose Curtis Knight. A current
member of Keenan’s Warrior squad, with one year of junior eligibility remaining, Knight
put up 95 points in 20 regular-season games this summer while often playing both ends
of the floor. Knight is also in familiar company with other Edmonton players. Knight and
Matthews were both teammates on Keenan’s 2011 Minto Cup winning team and while
Matthews may have been the most talked about player at the tournament, it was Knight
who took home MVP honors. He was also chosen as Whitby’s captain this past
summer, replacing former Warrior and current Rush player John LaFontaine. With
Knight’s unquestionable work ethic and familiarity with Keenan, do not be surprised to
see him on the Rexall Place turf this winter.

Third Pick (2nd Round 15th Overall): Michael Cudmore- (University of Hartford, Brooklin

Another former Warrior, Michael Cudmore is a talented defensive player with plenty of
motivation to draw from going into camp. An America East All-Conference Second Team
selection while at Hartford, Cudmore battled back from a torn ACL suffered in 2011 to
become a regular on the Brooklin Redmen defense this past summer. At 6’1 205
pounds, Cudmore is a physical presence that will already be familiar with the pro style
of play from his MSL experience. Cudmore will look to combine his athleticism with gritty
defensive play to try and secure a spot with the Rush.

Fourth Pick (3rd Round 28th Overall): Michael Burke- (Brampton Excelsiors) 

There is no denying that Michael Burke can put up points. The Caledon, ON native
capped off his junior A career with the Brampton Excelsiors by posting an incredible 129
point campaign in 2011, earning OLA Player of the Year for his efforts. He followed that
with a respectable 36 points with the senior A Excelsiors this past summer, good for
fourth in team scoring. While Burke can not be expected to routinely put up seasons like
he did in 2011, his offensive ability can not be ignored. Burke may need more time in the
MSL before cracking the Edmonton roster, but if he is able to continue his high scoring
ways in the pro game the Rush may have pulled off a huge steal with this third-rounder.

Fifth Pick (4th Round 33rd Overall): Simon Giourmetakis- (Canisius College, Maple Ridge Burrards)

The Rush took lefty sniper and Edmonton native Simon Giourmetakis with their fourth
round selection. Giourmetakis finished a successful four years at Canisius College last
spring, leading the team in scoring and helping them reach the NCAA tournament where
they lost to eventual champions Loyola University. He carried this momentum into the
summer where he recorded 19 points in 14 appearances with the WLA’s Maple Ridge
Burrards. While Giourmetakis’ role would definitely be one of a finisher, if he can take
advantage playing with pro level players and capitalize on opportunities, he may turn
some heads come training camp.

Sixth Pick (4th Round 46th Overall): Mitch Banister- (Maple Ridge Burrards)

Edmonton selected Giourmetakis’ Burrards teammate and fellow Alberta native Mitch
Banister with their second pick of the fourth round. Banister is a hard nosed defender
with plenty of determination to make it to the next level. While his summer with Maple
Ridge was not successful team wise, finishing with a 4-13-1 record, it allowed him to
fine-tune his game while playing against some of the top players in the world. The son
of former Calgary Roughnecks owner Brad Banister, Mitch knows exactly what it takes
to make it to the NLL and looks to do so in the near future.

Seventh Pick (6th Round 55th Overall): Kyle Goodchild- (University of Hartford, Brooklin

With their final selection of the draft Edmonton finished how they started, choosing
another former Whitby Warrior in Kyle Goodchild. Having played two years of NCAA
hockey at University of Alabama-Huntsville before transferring to play lacrosse at
University of Hartford, the 6’1 200 pound defender is a tremendous athlete that has
valuable MSL experience.

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