NLL: Swarm clean up with eight picks in 2020 draft

Robert Hudson of the Brampton Excelsiors. (Photo credit: Anna Taylor)

The Georgia Swarm had a strong showing during the 2020 NLL Draft, which was held virtually for the first time ever. Georgia picked up eight players – four in the first round alone.

In the first round, the Swarm held the sixth, eighth, 10th, and 13th picks. They used those four picks to make some significant splashes and grab talent that will bolster the Swarm’s roster now and in years to come. 

“We added a number of pieces that will help us this year, and yet we were able to position ourselves with some really good players that will come on board next season after they complete their extra year of eligibility provided by the NCAA due to the pandemic. As a result, we essentially got two first-round picks this year and two more for next year,” said Swarm Owner and GM John Arlotta. 

Arlotta was unable to make the draft so goaltender and co-teammate of the year Mike Poulin took over as the face of the franchise to made the announcements, with host Devan Kaney joking she was sorry he wasn’t doing it in his gear.

With their first selection, the Swarm grabbed transition player Robert Hudson out of Vermont and the Brampton Excelsiors. The lefty tallied 71 points (50G/21A) for the Catamounts during his college career and five points (1G/4A) in 17 regular season games with the Excelsiors during the 2019 MSL season. 

The Swarm will have to wait a year for their next two picks, with the eighth and 10th picks in defenseman Jeff Henrick and forward Ethan Walker returning to school for a fifth season following the NCAA’s ruling that grants players an extra year of eligibility due to the Coronavirus outbreak. 

Henrick, a lefty defenseman, recorded two points (1G/1A), caused seven turnovers, and scooped up 19 ground balls for Ohio State during the shortened 2020 season. He tallied 14 points (6G/8A) in 17 games with the New Westminster Salmonbellies during the 2019 WLA season. 

Walker, who is highly regarded as one of the best shooters in the game, has recorded 219 points (142G/77A) during his 55 game career with Denver, thus far. He recorded 12 points (5G/7A) in six games with the Peterborough Lakers during the 2019 season. 

With the 13th selection in the draft, the Swarm grabbed goalie Laine Hruska from the Saskatchewan SWAT and Whitby Steelhawks. Hruska was just named the Arena Lacrosse League (ALL) Rookie of The Year for the 2020 season, posting a league best 7.57 goals against average in nine games and 285:19 minutes of action. 

In Georgia, Hruska will have the opportunity to learn behind one of the league’s best in Poulin. Many feel he has a very high ceiling in the NLL. He was the first goalie taken in the draft.

After the first round, the Swarm didn’t pick again until the third, where they traded their two previous picks in the round (44th and 49th) to Vancouver for the 39th pick. With that selection they took lefty forward Sam Firth. The Ottawa native helped lead the Orangeville Northmen to a Minto Cup victory during the 2019 season, recording 11 points (3G/8A) overall. 

With their final three picks (60th, 75th, and 88th), the Swarm selected forward Tanner Buck, forward Miles Silva and defenseman Reece Eddy. 

Buck played for the Toronto Monarchs in the ALL during the past two seasons, being a top five scorer during the 2020 season (31G/36A). He recorded 65 points (28G/37A) with the Orangeville Northmen Jr. A team during the 2019 season. 

Neither Silva nor Eddy have any prior box experience, but have been stellar field players both in college and as rookies in the pro game. Silva recorded 66 points (65G/1A) during 34 games with Army West Point and scored four goals this past summer with the Denver Outlaws in the MLL. Eddy was among the top five in both caused turnovers per game (2.67) and overall caused turnovers (16) during the shortened 2020 season with Boston University. He had 13 ground balls and one goal for Chrome LC in the PLL this summer.