With MLL Draft over, teams are now in a dead period in the sport as they anticipate the beginning of training camps and await their newcomers from the recent collegiate draft. However, since the college season has officially begun and drafted players are now competing in preseason practice, they will not join their teams until some time during May. So how will each team look when their college draftees join the team? Here is a sneak peek.
The Cannons knew heading into the draft that they needed to get younger across the board and bring in some defensive help. While they did add future Hall of Famer Brodie Merrill they still needed help and thus, they brought in Scott McWilliams and Jack Reilly.
With Mitch Belisle and Kyle Sweeney also at close defense, McWilliams will learn a lot from some of the better defensemen in the game. McWilliams, however, is no slouch himself, having the ability to shut down the opposition’s top scorer and being a preseason first team All-American heading into this year.
Reilly will likely figure into the rotation at long pole midfield. Reilly is a little shorter and stockier but just as effective between the lines. Depending on what the Cannons want to do with Scott Ratliff and Merrill, Reilly could be used to spell them both or to run exclusively up top.
Two picks that were interesting were drafting not one, but two goalies behind Jordan Burke. With Eric Hagerty already on the roster as well, it will interesting to see who the three goalies are that they keep. By drafting Austin Kaut and Jack Murphy, we may be seeing the passing of the torch as well in Boston. Burke hasn’t played well and Kaut is the best goalie prospect to come out of college in recent memory,
Finally, the Cannons bring in Rob Emery and Erik Smith to bolster the midfield. Although Emery’s statistics aren’t eye-popping, he adds another big threat from the outside. His shot is one of the fastest in college and he could find better opportunities on a team surrounded with weapons.
The Hounds may have had the best draft this season and they continue to add some serious young talent. Having as many as eight rookies last season contribute big minutes on their surprising run to the MLL Championship and adding another crop of young players has the Hounds future looking extremely bright.
With the draft picks the Hounds made, you may as well call the Hounds the ACC of the MLL as they selected players from Duke, Maryland and Loyola and will pair them all with former teammates.
On defense, Michael Ehrhardt (Maryland), Chris Hipps and Henry Lobb (both from Duke) will provide even more talent and depth on an already impressive defensive front. Ehrhardt is the best prospect down low and could figure to play with Ryan Flanagan and former Terp Joe Cinosky down low. Hipps could split time with Mason Poli up top at LSM.
On attack, I love the additions of Josh Dionne and Justin Ward. Ward now completes the full attack line that led Loyola to a national championship as he gets to rejoin Mike Sawyer and Eric Lusby. Dionne joins former Blue Devil Matt Danowski as well. Dionne is a pure goal scorer who will go hard to the cage while Ward could be a good quarterback for the team, like he was at Loyola if Danowski gets chosen for Team USA.
The team also improved at the midfield on both offense and defense by getting the second best offensive midfielder in Mike Chanenchuk who can create a shot on his own and will draw the defense’s attention. He could form a nice line with Jake Tripucka. Also not to be lost in the shuffle is Thomas DeNapoli who put up 60 points last season for Towson and can play both attack and midfield. He is a shifty dodger and provides another scoring threat from up top.
The Hounds also drafted SSDM Pat Laconi, who will now rejoin with Josh Hawkins as probably the best defensive midfield unit in the MLL. Not much of a shocker since they did the same thing at Loyola.
Finally, the Hounds picked up the best faceoff man in the draft in Brendan Fowler who was a first team All-American last season and won close to 64 percent of his faceoffs. With Geoff Snider likely to play for Team Canada in the FIL Championships in the summer and him also only winning in the high 40’s for faceoff percentage last year, this makes the Hounds that much more dangerous.
The Bayhawks did a lot of their roster improvement by means of trades. By acquiring Brendan Mundorf, Peet Poillon, Joe Walters and Brian Megill, the Bayhawks bolstered their roster even more and are the odds on favorites to be the first three-peat champs in MLL history.
With so many moves made, the Bayhawks did not pick until the third round. The Bayhawks focused on defense with that pick by taking Syracuse’s Matt Harris. Harris should provide some younger legs to an aging, yet still effective defense. They also added another long pole in Navy’s Pat Kiernan who is one of the best LSM’s in the country. With Brian Megill and Jesse Bernhardt able to play both LSM and down low the choice of Kiernan is interesting and could give the Bayhawks a lot of versatility.
I also love the picks on attack with Brandon Benn, Alex Love and Kevin Cernuto. The Bayhawks may lose a lot of talent to the Team USA roster and having all these guys on board will ease the losses they may have to deal with. Love is underrated having put up 55 points last season, 45 of which were goals. Benn is also a great finisher on the inside and could be great for feeders like Joe Walters to find on the inside. Cernuto gets lost in the shuffle at St. Johns being on the same line with Kieran McArdle but he can quarterback an offense if need be. During the majority of the season they won’t see a lot of time but will show flashes of what could be throughout the season.
Finally, the picks of Dylan Levings at faceoff and Mark McNeill to bolster the SSDM position are nice additions as well. Levings could be the heir apparent for Adam Rand at the faceoff X as he was a huge contributor for Yale during their tournament run and McNeill will be a good, young, scrappy player to have on a team filled with stars and offensive fire power.