NLL: Teat leads exceptionally strong Riptide draft class

Jeff Teat of the Brampton Excelsiors at the 2018 Minto Cup. (Photo credit: Cliff McCaig)

With all the hype that Jeff Teat is bringing to the New York Riptide, it’s a shame that he won’t actually be suiting up until the 2021-22 season. When the NCAA granted a fifth year of playing eligibility to senior students to complete their collegiate careers, Teat decided to return to Cornell for one more shot at a championship with the Big Red. Another year of preparation isn’t necessary for the highly-talented Teat, but it won’t hurt him, either.

The Riptide made Teat the first pick in the 2020 NLL Draft, a pick that surprised exactly no one. The son of former NLLer Dan Teat, Jeff Teat had been the projected number one pick for years. His lacrosse IQ is off the charts for both box and field and he’s made a name for himself in both Ontario lacrosse and in the NCAA, where he is a two-time Tewaaraton nominee.

Last season was his first in the MSL with the senior Excelsiors. He won the league’s rookie of the year award AND was the league’s leading scorer, topping players like Shawn Evans and Cody Jamieson. His best game was an 11-point effort (6G/5A) against Peterborough last July. As a junior A Excelsior he won every award he could including rookie of the year, playoff MVP, league leading scorer and league MVP. His 145 points in his final season was the most since John Grant Jr.’s 160 in 1994.

As for what Teat can bring to the Riptide, that’s instant compete. The Riptide needed offensive help after their 1-12 inaugural season and though he’ll be a rookie, he’ll be the best player on the team. Imagine him on a line with Tyson Gibson and Callum Crawford. That’s not a last place team.

Larson Sundown plays with the Victoria Shamrocks in the 2019 Mann Cup. (Photo credit: Anna Taylor)

Despite the hype, the Riptide did draft other players, and perhaps selected one of the strongest draft classes. Two other lefty forwards will return to the NCAA for one more year: Larson Sundown, taken with the last pick in the second round (36), and Ryan Tierney, the Riptide’s last pick in the draft (6/82).

Sundown was a surprise to still be available that late, but it’s the Riptide’s gain. He finished fourth in scoring on a strong Victoria Shamrocks team that competed for the Mann Cup in 2019. That wasn’t his first experience on a strong team – he won the Minto Cup in 2018, the NCJAA championship in 2017 and a bronze medal with Team Iroquois at the 2016 U19s in addition to numerous accolades in two seasons at Limestone. Sundown will transfer to RIT for his fifth year while Tierney will return to Hofstra looking to take over the program’s all-time scoring lead.

The Riptide had three more picks in the second round: Mathieu Boissonneault (2/17), a righty defenseman from Canisius and the Whitby Warriors; Ty Thompon (2/25), a lefty forward from Hartford and Nepean Knights Jr. B; and Andrew Borgatti (2/29), a righty defenseman from the KW Braves/Brampton Excelsiors junior programs.

General manager Jim Veltman picked his son, Kris, in the fourth round, 53rd overall. The younger Veltman is a righty defenseman for the West Durham Ironheads Jr. B club. With a familiar face at training camp he’ll be given every opportunity to prove he can make the NLL.

Their final pick was righty forward Dawson Tait from RIT and the Nepean Knights Jr. B system in the sixth round, 81st overall. Tait had 71 points in 12 games in his last season of junior and finished third in scoring with RIT last season where he will again play this coming year.

The Riptide wasted no time in signing the four draftees who are available next season: Boissonneault, Veltman, Thompson and Borgatti all signed their professional first contracts on Tuesday.

“Mathieu and Kris not only add depth to our right defensive position but are both made of the character we want our players to emulate,” Riptide general manager Jim Veltman said. “We are excited to see their potential turn into reality. Ty provides the size and scoring touch we need up front and Andrew gives us a versatile player that can play well at both ends of the floor. We are thrilled that we were able to select both of them in the draft.”

The Riptide also traded John Wagner to the Rochester Knighthawks for Darryl Robertson and Jay Thorimbert. Robertson is a solid depth forward while Thorimbert remains one of the best faceoff men in the league.

Expect the Riptide to come out with more swagger when lacrosse returns. They’ve got new leadership on the bench and plenty of new faces who will compete for spots in training camp. This coming season may not be theirs for the taking yet, without the designated superstar Teat, but most teams have a couple of years of growing pains before seeing true success. Fear not Long Island, the Riptide will rise.