After all the building and planning the New York Riptide finally have a portion of their inaugural roster set in stone following the NLL Expansion Draft. The Expansion Draft saw New York and Rochester make eleven selections each to start really building their franchise.
New York did some very interesting things in this draft for sure. They seemed to go more defensive heavy in this draft. They also grabbed a lot of “gritty” players, which speaks volumes to how Regy Thorpe, New York Riptide head coach & GM, wants to build this team.
The Riptide’s defensive identity will be built around veteran leaders like Dan McRae, who was a key in leading Calgary to a championship last season. They also grabbed John Ranagan who has been a staple of Georgia’s offense, as well as Mike Manley who is a veteran but just came back into the NLL last season after a few years of playing primarily field. New York also picked up defense/transition player Jeff Cornwall, but according to a press release, Saskatchewan is trying to work out a trade to get him back.
While those guys out in front of the cage are great pieces to build a defense around, the Riptide’s biggest addition on the back-end is in goal with Alex Buque. While Buque has not been very consistent in the NLL, he does have the experience. Buque was a backup behind Dillon Ward in Colorado before starting in Buffalo in 2018. This past season he was part of a two goalie system in New England, but had certainly not proved to be a bona fide starter by the end of the season. Buque has had his fair share of ups and downs in the NLL for sure but his ceiling is certainly very high.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Riptide were able to get a good mix of guys that can really make a difference in a multitude of ways. They have a “big three” of sorts with Kieran McArdle -a Long Island native, Jordan Durston, and Tyler Digby. All three of those guys were huge contributors on their respective team last season. In addition to those three, New York has some offensive grinders in Dawson Theede and Jean-Luc Chetner. Connor Kelly-another Long Island Native, is also a young American that can play a big part in the offense as well.
New York might not have taken the best player available each and every pick, but Regy Thorpe certainly has a plan in place for the type of team and culture he wants to build on Long Island. Also, they have free agency and the NLL entry draft to build this team out even more, filling any holes they need to be addressed.
New York’s Expansion Draft Selections
Jordan Durston, Forward, Buffalo Bandits
John Ranagan, Defense, Georgia Swarm
Connor Kelly, Forward, San Diego Seals
Dan McRae, Defense, Calgary Roughnecks
Jeff Cornwall, Defense/Transition, Saskatchewan Rush
Kieran McArdle, Forward, Toronto Rock
Mike Manley, Defense, Halifax Thunderbirds
Dawson Theede, Forward, Halifax Thunderbirds
Tyler Digby, Forward, New England Blackwolves
Alex Buque, Goalie, New England Blackwolves
Jean-Luc Chetner, Forward, Vancouver Warriors