NLL: Bandits reload through draft and free agency

Jordan Stouros defends for the Peterborough Lakers. (Photo credit: Anna Taylor)

The Buffalo Bandits selected six players in the 2020 NLL Entry Draft. The Bandits, who finished last years shortened season at 7-4, selected three forwards and three transition players.

During the draft the Bandits made a trade with the Rochester Knighthawks to obtain the 19th overall selection. The Bandits also received a conditional first-round pick in 2021 and a second-round pick in the 2023 NLL Entry Draft. Being sent to Rochester was a fourth-round pick (54th overall) in the current draft along with Matt Gilray.

Gilray was selected in the first round (third overall) in 2018. He’s a 6’3, 206 lb. righty defenseman who will make you earn every inch on the floor. During his two seasons in Buffalo, Gilray collected eight goals, nine assists and 143 loose balls in only 29 games. He will be a very welcomed addition to the Rochester back line.

With the Bandits’ first-round pick, at number nine overall, they selected forward Brad McCulley. A native of Victoria, BC, McCulley (6’1”, 200 lbs., 1/31/1997) has spent the last three seasons at Robert Morris University, where he finished sixth on the team in goals in each of the last two seasons. In 40 career collegiate games, McCulley recorded 32 points (28+4). The forward made his WLA debut in 2019 for the Langley Thunder and led the team in points (37) while finishing second in goals (20) in 18 games played.

The Bandits selected forward Sam La Roue (6’3”, 195 lbs., 6/3/2002) with the first of the team’s two second-round picks (19th overall). The South Surrey, BC native made his BCJALL debut as a 17-year-old in 2019, recording 39 points (14G/25A) in 20 games split between Burnaby and New Westminster. La Roue is a dual-sport athlete and will quarterback Western’s football team this season.

With the number 23 pick in the draft, the team added defenseman Jordan Stouros (5’11”, 200 lbs., 9/27/1996). Stouros played 64 games and recorded 11 points (6+5) during a four-year collegiate career for the Limestone University Saints. He was named the USILA-Warrior Division II Long Pole Midfielder of the Year and was a USILA All-American after his junior season in 2019. He’s been a member of the Peterborough Lakers Mann Cup winning team for the last two seasons.

The Bandits added their third forward of the draft in the fifth round, selecting Hamilton native Tye Argent (6’0”, 170 lbs., 6/19/1999) with the 73rd overall pick. Argent posted nine points (5G/4A) in seven OJALL games with the Burlington Chiefs in 2019 before recording 29 points (14G/15A) in 11 games with the Six Nations Snipers of the Arena Lacrosse League in 2020.

With their second of two fifth-round selections at number 76, the Bandits selected transition player Dalton Sulver (6’1”, 213 lbs.). Sulver played the last four seasons for High Point University, posting 57 points (41G/16A) and 36 ground balls in 49 career games. The Kingwood, Texas native established career highs in goals (21), assists (9) and points (30) in 16 games during the 2019 campaign.

Buffalo wrapped up the draft with a western New Yorker, selecting Lancaster native Carter Stefaniak (5’11”, 176 lbs., 6/15/1998) with the team’s sixth-round pick (89th overall). The transition player finished his collegiate career with 95 points (75G/20A) in 52 NCAA games for Canisius College, earning All-MAAC honors in 2018 and 2019.

The Bandits were very active during free agency as well. The Bandits first received Brock Sorensen from the Rock but then flipped him and a pick to the Philadelphia Wings in exchange for Liam Patten, Justin Guterding and a conditional third-round selection in the 2022 Draft.

They have also signed Kyle Buchanan, JP Kealey, Vaughn Harris, Joel Matthews and Devlin Shanahan to one-year agreements and Taylor Kauffeldt, Frank Brown, Marcus Minichiello and Nathaniel Kozevnikov to two-year agreements.

The Bandits were already a stacked team, and with these draft and free agent signings they will be a tough team to compete with in the Northern Division.