The 2013 season ended in heartbreak for the Washington Stealth, as the team suffered their second loss in the Champion’s Cup finals in three years. After an off-season relocation, the franchise will select their first official draft class as the Vancouver Stealth on Monday, September 16.
Vancouver did not deal or acquire any draft picks via trade and will select once each round as per their finish from last season. The Stealth had an obscure selection schedule last year, with three of the team’s six picks coming in the second round. Despite the order of the Stealth’s selections, the 2012 draft class proved solid as five of six were able to crack the roster as rookies.
Last season, the Stealth placed an emphasis on selecting defensive players, choosing hardnosed defenders Tyler Garrison, Justin Pychel and Billy Hostrawser. However, after scoring the second fewest goals in the western conference last season, Vancouver might focus more on offense this time around. Although their roster already features big offensive guns such as 2012 NLL goals leader Rhys Duch, Lewis Ratcliff and Athan Ianucci, 2012 sixth round selection Kyle Buchanan was able to dress nine games last season registering 22 points.
The Stealth might have a few surprises up their sleeves, as they have shown a fondness of taking chances on draftees in the past. Mitch Jones, who put up four points in three games in his rookie campaign, was selected in the third round of last year’s draft despite being unavailable for a majority of the season while playing NCAA hockey at Northern Michigan University.
This draft class will likely be largely influenced by British Columbia talent. Twelve players on the Stealth roster and four of last year’s six draftees hail from B.C. With the team officially moved to Vancouver, a selection crop of western Canadian talent should come as no surprise.
Check back with In Lacrosse We Trust for all your latest NLL Entry Draft updates.