NLL: Mammoth lead draft with 11 new picks

Jalen Chaster of the Coquitlam Jr. Adanacs. (Photo credit: Cliff McCaig)

If Draft Day is where General Managers earn their pay, Brad Self of the Colorado Mammoth deserves overtime. Over the course of the evening, Self and the Mammoth made a pair of trades and 11 selections, the most of any team.

Despite their slew of picks, Colorado sat out the first round after dealing their pick, along with Dan Coates, to Georgia in June for Zed Williams and a pair of picks in the second round. The move secured three second-round picks for the Mammoth, and Self would add another, the 28th overall selection, dealing Jeff Wittig to Rochester.

Perhaps the most surprising Mammoth move of the night followed as Colorado moved up to the 18th overall position in a swap with New England. In order to do so, it cost them their 24th overall pick and Jacob Ruest – a four-year veteran who was on pace for a career best offensive year before play was shut down in March.

With the newly acquired selection, Colorado picked Ron John, who was originally projected to go off the board much higher. John was the first of seven defenders selected, and while he is returning to Albany for 2021, will be a strong force on the Mammoth back end. He has also demonstrated an ability to push when needed, perhaps making him a formidable wingman for Joey Cupido.

The Mammoth were back at the virtual podium four picks later to draft one of only three offensive players on the night. Looking to Alberta, they opted for Brett McIntyre. Boasting a pair of 100+ point seasons for the Okotoks Raiders, he will have a chance to crack the right side of the Mammoth attack when he’s available after returning to UMBC.

Following McIntyre was a trio of defenders to close out a busy second round – Ottawa’s Jordan Trottier at 28, Coquitlam’s Jalen Chaster 31st and Tyler Sceviour from Calgary 33rd overall. All three are available next season.

Trottier’s road to the draft goes through Nepean, Peterborough and New Westminster. He’s a big (6’4”/215), solid defender who may have the best shot cracking the left side of the Mammoth roster. Along with Warren Jeffrey and Robert Hope, that could be the best young defensive side in the league. Chaster may be the odd man out here, but he brings versatility to play either side of the ball with a high IQ. He won the 2018 Minto with Coquitlam. Sceviour is the only righty of the three. In his RMLL grad year he was a first team All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year. The right side is busier for the Mammoth, but a strong camp could see Sceviour suiting up opening night.

After securing a quarter of the available picks in the second round, the Mammoth entered the third round with three selections. Those were used to draft defenders Curtis Conley (40th), Pat Aslanian (42nd) and Peter Dearth (52nd). Conley was projected as high as the first round, which is a strong indicator of his skill set. He has experience playing with men with 24 games with the Whitby Steelhawks. Aslanian brings a pair of NCAA Big East Championships to camp, along with four high school state titles. He has also played with men suiting up for five MLL games with the Denver Outlaws prior to the season stoppage. Dearth is a two-time All-American who will return to Syracuse for his final season.

With eight picks spanning the second and third rounds, Colorado slowed down selecting only three more times in the back half of the draft – Nate Faccin (58th), Jared Bernhardt (66th) and Sam LeClair (86th).

Faccin was the Mammoth’s only goaltender selection. Not that they need one with Dillon Ward and Tyler Carlson. He didn’t see a lot of time early in Junior A backing up Christian Del Bianco, but when he did take over, he was named top BCJALL goaltender in 2019 as well as a second-team All-Star. Should he make the team, it would be in a practice roster role. Bernhardt will return to the NCAA for his final year of eligibility. However, instead of gunning for 24 more goals to top Matt Rambo’s Maryland record of 155, the 2019 Tewaaraton Award finalist will transfer to DII Ferris State to play football. Finally, LeClair only has 22 games experience above the Junior B level; however, his 200+ career points, even in B lacrosse, can’t be ignored.

The Mammoth may not be as flashy as Georgia in terms of first-round picks, but at the 2020 Draft they were the busiest in their continuing quest to assemble a younger roster. Next year’s draft should be quieter for Colorado fans as, at the time of this posting, the Mammoth only hold five picks, the first coming at the end of the second round.