NLL Expansion: Panther City LC Mock Draft

NLL Expansion: Panther City LC Mock Draft

With the upcoming NLL Expansion Draft on Tuesday, I took a look at what players Panther City could target as they begin to build their roster for year one.

First things first, I opted to punt on the goaltender position in my mock expansion draft. Unfortunately for Bob Hamley & Co., the attractive unprotected goaltenders belong to the teams that have the most alluring runners available (Calgary, Georgia, and San Diego).

At least one goalie is likely to be selected. However, if I'm Bob Hamley, I would attempt to assemble a tandem of Kevin Orleman and a veteran with experience (Kirk, Carlson, Fryer, etc.). I *believe* that they would both be available to outright sign as free agents. That way, you have an experienced option, while simultaneously throwing a dart at your “goalie of the future” with Orleman.

Next, I would call Zack Greer and pitch him on being the inaugural captain of the Panther City Lacrosse Club. From a logistical standpoint, this move makes perfect sense. Greer lives and works in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. Lacrosse-wise, the 10-year veteran has been in many locker rooms and is still capable as a left-handed forward.

Panther City is on the clock!

Disclaimer: For the sake of this mock draft, I will not be considering the under-the-table deals that will be occurring on (Expansion) Draft Day.

Albany - Jean-Luc Chetner (LD)

Another year, another expansion team for Jean-Luc Chetner. This is what happens when you continue to show versatility on film. In New York, Chetner was being employed on the power-play and the penalty-kill at different points in the season. He is probably better suited in a backdoor role, but can be utilized in a variety of ways.

Buffalo - Jordan Stouros (LD)

Jordan Stouros should not be viewed as a rookie. He'll be 25 years old when he makes his professional debut. Stouros cut his teeth (28 GP) in the MSL with the NLL All-Star team that is the Peterborough Lakers. The stocky defender plays with an edge and will make an immediate impact as a member of the faceoff unit.

Calgary - Marshal King (RF)

I really believe that the Roughnecks staff are hoping that Panther City selects someone other than King. This is typically a good sign for the team making the pick. Despite a small sample size as a professional (5 GP, 16 PTS), I believe that King has already flashed enough to make teams regret letting him get out of the first round in the 2019 Entry Draft. He becomes an immediate candidate to play the point on the power-play.

Colorado - Joey Cupido (RD)

There isn't a defender in the league that has earned more trust from his goaltender than Joey Cupido. Cupido is Dillon Ward's preferred target. The former two-time All-Canadian football star runs "go" routes to spark transition. He finished behind only Shane Simpson in transition points (5 G, 6 A) for the 2019/20 season. His presence alone puts the opposing bench-side forwards on notice.

Georgia - Joel White (RD)

Panther City may not actually need to make this selection* because of the franchise designation that prevents an unrestricted free agent from signing elsewhere. The soon-to-be 32-year-old would be the cornerstone of the defensive unit and a favourite to wear a letter. White snagged 9.15 loose balls per 20 minutes, which placed him 3rd among defenders that did not take faceoffs. On top of his performance on the floor, White resides in Nashville, which would mean a reasonable two-hour flight into DFW International Airport.

*If Panther City can use the franchise tag on White without selecting him, then my pick would be Connor Sellars.

Halifax - Mike Burke (RF)

Burke is a low-usage player who can create space and play off-ball. The addition of Burke eases the learning curve for Marshal King, Connor Kelly (see below), and Donville/Lanchbury.

New York - Connor Kelly (RF)

This selection is all about talent. You would be hard-pressed to find an unprotected forward with more high-end tools (excluding the veteran unrestricted free agent group). Connor Kelly has shown impressive patience in the pick-and-roll game as both the ball carrier and the roller. Even with his relative inexperience in the box game, Kelly executes crease dives and crashes the glass like a seasoned professional. He finished 10th among forwards in offensive rebounding with 5.95 LBs per 20 minutes.

Philadelphia - Anthony Joaquim (LD)

If just accounting for lacrosse factors, this should be the selection. At 6’2 205 lbs, Joaquim can defend every archetype of forward. He was employed in all situations and played the 4th most minutes for the Philadelphia defense.

Rochester - John Wagner (LD)

Wagner’s greenness to high-level box lacrosse caused him to slip in the 2019 Entry Draft. Prior to his rookie year, he had played just 34 games of junior lacrosse, with just six of those games coming at the Junior A level. Wagner is an impressive athlete who was a bright spot on the Riptide defense. Inexperience aside, Wagner caused turnovers at the 6th highest rate in the entire league (1.50 per 20 minutes).

San Diego - Casey Jackson (LF)

Casey Jackson scored 2.89 goals per 20 minutes of floor time. This led the league. The gap between Jackson and 2nd place (Rob Hellyer - 2.59) equaled the distance between 2nd and 8th. He scored at an unsustainably high rate, so there will be regression – but I believe his production warrants a selection. Jackson immediately slots in as a pick-and-roll threat and a crease finisher on the power-play

Saskatchewan - Matt Hossack (RD)

Leveraging the unprotected Chris Corbeil to acquire draft capital from Saskatchewan is probably the “best” route. However, barring a secure commitment from Corbeil, Matt Hossack is the safest selection. He has played somewhat sheltered minutes because of Saskatchewan’s Big Four, but does not make glaring mistakes.

Toronto - Reid Reinholdt (LF)

The Rock's congested defensive unit remains intact as Panther City snags a player from their thinnest position: left-handed forward. There are a few Toronto defenders that could be in play. However, positional scarcity and the opportunity to see what Reinholdt can achieve with an increased role make this an attractive selection.

Vancouver - Sam Clare (LD)

Vancouver’s roster is littered with locals, which means that Panther City’s choice is likely to be a British Columbian. Logistically, this is difficult due to travel requirements. That being said, I liked what I saw from Clare in the shortened season. As an older first-year player, he collected 5.67 loose balls per 20 minutes which was good for 7th among rookie defenders. He also displayed the ability to create transition opportunities.

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