It was not an easy year for the Nationals, going from runners-up for the championship to runners-up for the worst record in the league.
Still, there is quite a bit of talent on this team. They had six All-Stars last season and, when clicking, their offense can score with anyone.
With the second overall pick in the draft they are in a good position to pick an immediate impact player and get back to their winning roots.
Here are some players the team should take a look at.
Tucker Durkin, D, Johns Hopkins
With the No. 2 pick in the 2013 MLL Collegiate Draft the Nationals will most likely take Durkin, Will Manny or Peter Baum. Durkin makes the most sense for them though. Brodie Merrill is still playing at a high level. They also have last year’s top pick Chad Wiedmaier and solid veterans Solomon Bliss and and Steven Waldeck. Durkin is an immediate improvement on defense though.
Scouts have pegged him as the top defenseman in this year’s class. He’s got good take-away skills. He’s a two-time All-American and is the reigning defender of the year. Last season was his best yet, picking up a career-high 35 ground balls and causing 19 turnovers. He’s an immediate improvement to a defense that was third in the league in most goals allowed (193).
Cameron Mann, M, Jacksonville
He’s a Hamilton native, which is always a plus. But his talent on the field is why the Nationals really should be looking at him. He’s a very talented scorer, which he has proven in his three years in college. He’s immediate offense, scoring a goal in every game he played in last season. He led the team with 41 points. He was also the first Jacksonville history to score 100 career goals. He’ll be a huge addition alongside David Earl in the midfield.
Jake Tripucka, M, Duke
The Nationals have scorers: Stephen Keogh, Joe Walters, Kevin Crowley, David Earl and Cody Jamieson can all put the ball in the back of the net. They need a stronger supporting cast. Tripucka was not option No. 1 at Duke playing alongside with guys like Justin Turri, Rob Rotanz, Jordan Wolf, Christian Walsh and Josh Dionne. He finished sixth on the team in points. He knows how to work with his teammates but he can also score when you need him to.
Davis Butts, M, Loyola
He’s an effort guy that does a little bit of everything. He was third on the team in goals (21) and fourth in points (35) last season. He also picked up 40 ground balls. He stepped up in the big moments, scoring in every NCAA Tournament game en route to helping the team win the championship last season. He’s another player that won’t need to be the star but will be more than ready to contribute when called upon.
Zach Palmer, A, Johns Hopkins
He’s another Canadian and he led the Blue Jays in assists and points last season. He’s increased his point total in each of his three seasons at Johns Hopkins. He also has a career 40.1 shooting percentage, showcasing his accuracy.