NLL: Saskatchewan Rush add depth to their roster in draft

Connor McClelland of the Brampton Excelsiors is held up by Peterborough’s Josh Currier. (Photo credit: Anna Taylor)

The Saskatchewan Rush came away from this year’s NLL draft with seven prospects that have the potential to add significant depth to an already strong core on both ends of the floor.

The Rush had two first-round picks, in the seventh and 12th spots overall. With the seventh-overall pick, they selected Marshall Powless. The younger brother of the Toronto Rock’s Johnny Powless, the lefty sniper declared early for the draft, but has huge upside as an offensive tool. He racked up 151 points in 20 games during the 2019 season with the Six Nations Rebels Jr. B team and had already picked up 11 points in just two games in the 2020 campaign with the Six Nations Snipers of the Arena Lacrosse League before things got shut down.

With lefty forward Jeff Shattler now in his mid-30s, bringing in a talented scorer on that side should help bridge the gap as Shattler’s role on the team begins to diminish.

The Rush selected defenceman Connor McClelland with the 12th overall pick. McClelland will be returning to Marquette University in 2020-21 and therefore won’t be eligible to play for Saskatchewan, but he is fast and smart, so he should be an asset when he graduates.

In the second round, the Rush selected Bobby Kidd, from the Junior A Langley Thunder. Kidd, like Powless, declared early, and could play his way into either the defensive unit or transition, where he has shown a nose for the net. The Rush defence and transition units have several players over 30 in their ranks, so again, there may be an opportunity for Kidd to step in and provide some fresh energy.

The Rush chose another lefty forward in the third round, selecting Clark Walter from Limestone University. Walter made the NCAA Div. II All-American First Team and has also spent five seasons on the Port Coquitlam Saints. Walter, like McClelland, is one of many drafted athletes that will stay in school this year.

Another player who will stay in college in 2020 is fourth-round pick Kelson Borisenko, who is a forward at Manhattan College who has also enjoyed a lot of success with the Manitoba Blizzard of the Rocky Mountain Junior ‘B’ division.

In the fifth round, Saskatchewan took New Westminster Salmonbellies forward Erik Maas, who has averaged almost three points per game in his career.

With their final pick, as always, the Rush went with a local kid, choosing Wyatt Haux, from Estevan, SK. At 6 feet, four inches, Haux is a physical presence in transition, who has shown his effectiveness as a member of the Saskatchewan Swat and also with Team Canada in the 2018 and 2019 World Junior Championships.

Overall, the Rush have made several moves that help build depth in the short term while setting the table for strong growth into the future.