What a tumultuous offseason the Boston Cannons had in 2015. They decided to trade away the most popular and possibly best lacrosse player in the world in midfielder Paul Rabil while also acquiring a lot of help on the defensive end of the field. With the MLL Collegiate Draft a little over a week away, let’s take a look at what the Cannons need to address in order to improve their roster.
Top Draft Need: Midfielder
Shocking analysis here but trading away Paul Rabil isn’t a good thing. Not to mention the fact that Stephen Berger also retired after last season, the midfield position needs a lot of help. Gone are 95 total points between the two. Additionally, they do lose Mike Stone however, he had a down year with only six points in nine games played.
The Cannons did receive Max Seibald from the New York Lizards. Seibald, who when healthy, is a legitimate player in the MLL. However, Seibald’s health is a huge question mark and has really hampered him over the past couple of seasons. Meanwhile, Brent Adams is the next best scoring midfielder on the team after a 17-point season last year. Rob Emery had 12 points in his rookie season but was not a guy who initiating the offense. After those two players, there isn’t much depth in the unit.
Brendan Porter came over from the LXM Pro Tour merger nad Josh Amidon is a familiar name because of his time at Syracuse but I would expect the Cannons to heavily invest in midfielders his year.
The strongest part of the unit is at faceoff as Chris Eck returns at the ‘X. Eck was the second best faceoff man in the league statistically as he won 168 faceoffs last season.
The attack unit is now the focal point of the offense. The Cannons did lose Ryan Boyle and his 27 points to retirement. However, Will Manny and Kevin Buchanan return to lead a very strong attack unit. Manny is an absolute stud behind the net and had 52 points last season for the Cannons. He will also pair up with Ryan Young who was acquired from the Charlotte Hounds this offseason. Young will look to rebound after a drop in his scoring output in 2014. Kevin Buchanan is also a big part of the offense as he had 41 points last season. Between the three of them, they will challenge any close defense in the league. There is also some solid depth behind them as Owen Blye and his 12 points return as well as Matt White working in as a possible fifth attackman.
The defense got a huge lift this offseason because of trades. Boston adds Chad Wiedmaier to a group that already boasts future Hall of Fame defenseman Brodie Merrill as well as Mitch Belisle, Scott Ratliff, Kyle Sweeney and Jack Reilly.
The defense has several players who can play both in longstick-midfield and down low and might be one of the deepest defensive units in the league. One of these guys may be the odd man out when the roster gets trimmed but it is better to have too many options than too few.
The goalie position does not need to be addressed at all in the MLL Draft. The team added Adam Ghitelman from Charlotte and he will compete with Jordan Burke to be the team’s starter. Meanwhile, Penn State standout Austin Kaut remains on the roster and Fairfield’s Jack Murphy is a very solid player in his own right. The Cannons would likely keep three at the most and I expect Murphy and Eric Hagarty, who was acquired in the Supplemental Draft, to be the off men out as the season draws closer.
With those needs in mind, I expect the Cannons to address the midfield position with each of their first two first round picks. If there isn’t a second midfielder they are in love with, I would expect them to see if they can get a top-end defenseman that they think can become a shutdown, No. 1 type of player as well.