PLL Expansion Draft Projections

(Photo Courtesy of PLL)

Following their inaugural season during the summer of 2019, the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) is expanding from six teams to seven teams. And with expansion comes losses from each existing team via the PLL Expansion Draft, which will be taking place on February 12th.

How It Works

Before getting into projections, let’s look at what rules the PLL has laid out for this expansion draft. First off, each team will be able to protect 11 players ( 1 goalie and 10 positional players). However, players who are currently active duty military or on the rookie holdout list (did not make one appearance on a Travel Roster during 2019 season.) will be exempted from the expansion draft and will not need to be protected by their current club. 

Waterdogs LC will be able to draft 18 players in all during the expansion draft and. No more than four players can be selected from a single existing Lacrosse Club in the Expansion Draft. Once four players have been selected from a club that club then becomes off-limits to select from. 

Other Considerations

Unlike the expansion drafts that we have seen in the NLL over the past few seasons, player contracts in the PLL are not known to the public. Therefore, we can’t project that a player won’t be picked because of circumstances or any other matter besides on the field play. So that is what these projections will be looking at, exclusively. Also, the info as to who is and isn’t in the player pool is kind of murky, so these projections will include everyone who is listed on each respective team’s roster on the PLL’s website. 

However, there is a chance that handshake deals between clubs will be made prior to the expansion draft. While it might ruin the drama just a bit, it can be a useful strategy for teams with deeper rosters. 

Team-by-Team Breakdown

Archers LC

Archers may be the most interesting team when it comes to this expansion draft because they do have the first overall pick in the 2020 PLL Draft. With that pick, they can go in a number of different directions. But faceoff or attack seem to be the two places where many think they will go because of the top-level talent this draft holds at those two positions. 

Head coach Chris Bates will be able to keep the top guys on the offensive side, but the real question for them is on the defensive end and in the middle of the field. Archers played somewhat of a two goalie system last season with Drew Adams and Adam Ghitleman sharing time. Statistically speaking, Ghitleman was better and saw more action. So they will likely protect him and Drew Adams will likely get left unprotected and it would be shocking if he didn’t get selected. 

Also, Jackson Place’s injury poses some questions. If he is able to come back for a full season in 2020 then they will want to protect him. But if thats not the case, does Archers even need to protect him?  In that case, Archers can likely afford to leave him unprotected and that opens up room to protect defensive midfielder Dominique Alexander and risk only protecting two poles. 

Back to the first overall draft pick, things will be predicated on Pat Spencer. If Spencer comes then Yale faceoff man TD Ierlan will likely go first overall. If he doesn’t then Penn State attackman Grant Ament or Princeton attackman Michael Sowers will likely be the first overall pick. Since nobody will know of Spencer’s decision in January, it doesn’t make any logical sense for them to not protect faceoff man Stephen Kelly. 

Protected List

Will Manny – Attack

Marcus Holman – Attack

Christian Cuccinello – Attack

Tom Schreiber – Midfield

Ben McIntosh – Midfield

Danny Eipp – Midfield

Dominique Alexander – D/Midfield

Stephen Kelly -Faceoff

Scott Ratliff – Defense

Matt McMahon – Defense

Adam Ghitelman – Goalie

Unprotected List

Davey Emala – Attack

Joey Sankey – Attack

Kevin Rice – Attack

Ryan Ambler – Attack

Austin Sims – Midfield

Tyler Pfister – Midfield

Mark McNeill – Midfield

Nick Tintle – Midfield

Ian MacKay – Midfield

Michael Noone – Defense

Steve Waldeck – Defense

Evan Connell – Defense

Goran Murray – Defense

Curtis Corley – Defense

Mike Simon – Defense

Jackson Place – Defense

Brendan Fowler – Faceoff

Drew Adams – Goalie

Atlas LC

The first overall pick bracket runner ups might not have the difficult roster as it pertains to the amount of tough decision that will have to be made prior to the expansion draft. But newly minted head coach Ben Rubeor does have some decisions to make. 

Atlas’ defense is pretty set in stone and there is no way that Trevor Baptiste goes unprotected. So, they will likely not protect an SSDM or LSM. But for Atlas, all the questions surrounding the expansion draft protected list will be on the offensive end of the field. 

Chris Cloutier only saw action in seven regular-season games but was very effective. There could be a chance that they end up protecting him over Joel Tinney, who can be more of a two-way player. And with the attack that Atlas has, Cloutier is at the bottom of the totem pole in terms of players that produce on a consistent basis from that position. 

Needless to say, Atlas might be one of the easier teams to predict their protected list because of how “bland” their roster is. Besides Baptiste, they don’t have many guys at specialist positions that can be more valuable than your average positional player. 

Protected List

Eric Law – Attack

Kieran McArdle – Attack

Ryan Brown – Attack

Paul Rabil – Midfield

Connor Buczek – Midfield

Joel Tinney – Midfield

Trevor Baptiste – Faceoff

Kyle Hartzell – Defense

Tucker Durkin – Defense

Cade Van Raaphorst – Defense

Jack Concannon – Goalie

Unprotected List

Chris Cloutier – Attack

James Pannell – Attack

Shack Stanwick – Attack

John Crawley – Midfield

Kevin Unterstein – Midfield

Jake Richard – Midfield

Steve DeNapoli – Midfield

Andrew Hodgson – Midfield

Ryan Conrad – Midfield

Tal Bruno – Midfield

Steven Brooks – Midfield

Pat Young – Midfield

Chris Mattes – faceoff

Noah Richard – Defense

Callum Robinson – Defense

Austin Pifani – Defense

Scotty Rogers – Goalie

Chaos LC

Head coach Andy Towers might have more questions in front of him than any other head coach in the PLL as the due date for expansion draft protection list grow nearer, but he also has a bit of an advantage, as well. Chaos LC can protect more players than any other team due to the military exemption rule which applies to defenseman Johnny Surdick and midfielder Greyson Torain – who are both active duty military members. 

Even though their six-on-six offense failed at times last season, I honestly can’t see any of their offensive starters go unprotected. So on that front, things are pretty simple. But it gets more complicated in the middle of the field. Mark Glicini or Thomas Kelly?

Glicini galvanized fans last season with his heart, hustle, and determination, which was put on display when he blocked shots with his back. Which is just insane. There is an argument to be made that protecting Glicini is more important than protecting faceoff man Thomas Kelly. If Chaos had the first overall pick, go ahead and protect Glicini and get Yale faceoff man TD Ierlan with that first overall selection. But they don’t have that luxury. 

Also, Coach Towers could choose to not protect either Kelly or Glicini and protect defenseman/LSM Brodie Merrill. The veteran was a crucial piece to their defense last season and would also be a big loss, as it’s hard to imagine Waterdogs LC not picking Merrill. In reality, Towers and Chaos might just stick to the status quo and protect Kelly at the faceoff dot. After all, they can’t lose more than four players maximum, so there is a chance that one of the guys that they wish they could have protected doesn’t get selected at all. 

Protected List

Connor Fields – Attack

Josh Byrne – Attack

Miles Thompson – Attack

Jake Froccaro – Midfield

Myles Jones – Midfield

Deemer Class – Midfield

Thomas Kelly – Faceoff

Jarrod Neumann – Defense

Troy Reh – Defense

Jack Rowlett – Defense

Blaze Riorden – Goalie

Unprotected List

Curtis Dickson – Attack

Joe Resetarits – Attack

Eric Scott – Midfield

Kevin Buchanan – Midfield

Dhane Smith – Midfield

Patrick Resch – Midfield

Brad Smith – Midfield

Jeremy Thompson – Midfield

Mark Glicini – D-Midfield

Brodie Merrill – LSM/Defense

Tyson Bell – Defense

Dan Coates – Defense

Chrome LC

Newly minted Chrome LC head coach Tim Soudan knows many of the players on his roster already, having coached them previously. While that certainly should help his decision making in this process, it is also helpful that Chrome only really has questions on the defensive side of the ball. And on top of that, the most pressing question has a pretty simple answer.

Starting with the goalie spot, John Galloway and Brett Queener both showed flashes of greatness last season, but it just makes more sense for Chrome to protect Galloway. It would honestly be surprising if they decided to go the other way. 

Chrome’s biggest area they need to clean up next season is their transition defense. Protecting a guy like Max Tuttle or John Ranagan who can be a big contributor on both ends of the field is practically a must Chrome, and would really help their play in between the boxes (arcs). 

Protecting two close defensemen also allows Chrome LC to go out and get a quality defender like Duke’s JT Giles-Harris in the draft and keeps key contributors that they need at the midfield position. 

Protected List

Justin Guterding – Attack

Jordan Wolf – Attack

Ned Crotty – Midfield

Jordan MacIntosh – Midfield

John Ranagan – Midfield

Matt Danowski – Midfield

Romar Dennis – Midfield

Connor Farrell – Faceoff

Mike Manley – Defense

Joel White – Defense

John Galloway – Goalie

Unprotected List

Chris Bocklet – Attack

Callum Crawford – Attack

Ty Thompson – Attack

Simon Mathias – Attack

John Pendergast – Midfield

Max Tuttle – Midfield

Will Haus – Midfield

Alec Tullett – Defense

Joe Fletcher – Defense

Chris Sabia – Defense

Ryan Flanagan – Defense

Luke Duprey – Defense

Brandon Mullins – Defense

BJ Grill – Defense

Brett Queener – Goalie

Redwoods LC

Head coach Nat St. Laurent and Redwoods LC are in a very unique position heading into the expansion draft. That unique position is having six defensemen that could probably be inserted to any roster in the league and be a star. Having that much talent on the back end is both a blessing an a curse in this instance.

Also, they have some tough decisions at midfield, as well. They can go younger and protect Ryder Garnsey, Sergio Perkovic, and Sergio Salcido or they could decide to protect Joe Walters and either Pat Harbeson or Brent Adams who can both run both ends. Redwoods also could chose to not protect faceoff man Greg Gurelian so they can protect one more guy on defense or midfield. I honestly can’t see that happening, even with Gurelian’s recent injury problems. 

Redwoods will likely just protect two attackmen (Jules Heningburg, Matt Kavanagh) so they can still stack up talent on either defense or at the midfield position. At the end of the day it is probably best for Redwoods to just keep things simple and let everything else play out on its own.  

Protected List

Jules Heningburg – Attack 

Matt Kavanagh – Attack

Ryder Garnsey – Midfield

Sergio Perkovic – Midfield 

Sergio Salcido – Midfield 

Patrick Harbeson – Midfield

Greg Gurelian – Faceoff

Garrett Epple – Defense

John Sexton – Defense

Eddy Glazener – Defense 

Tim Troutner – Goalie

Unprotected List

Clarke Petterson – Attack

Wes Berg – Attack 

Kylor Bellistri – Attack

Kyle Harrison – Midfield

Joe Walters – Midfield

Brent Adams – Midfield

Jack Near – Midfield

Tyler Dunn – Midfield

Nick Ossello – Midfield

JoJo Marasco – Midfield

Jerry Ragonese – Faceoff

Brian Karalunas – Defense

Matt Landis – Defense

Larken Kemp – Defense

Gunnar Waldt – Goalie

Whipsnakes LC

After winning the inaugural PLL championship, Whipsnakes LC head coach Jim Stagnitta likely has the toughest decisions to make of any team in the league, leading up to the expansion draft. One of only a few sure-fire things for Whipsnakes is that they will keep their entire defense intact. 

While their entire defense and faceoff man Joe Nardella should be protected, that leaves some questions on the offensive end of the field. Rambo and Chanenchuk are locks, but those last two spots on offense will be a hot button topic across the league. 

Ryan Drenner, Drew Snider, Connor Kelly, Ben Reeves, and John Haus could all see their name as one of those last two spots. Drenner and Kelly make the sense to protect out of that group. Drenner was a top-three scorer for them last season and Kelly is one of the most dynamic offensive talents in the league, having the ability to play attack or midfield. While letting Reeves and Haus go will be very tough, this 2020 draft class is deep enough in offensive talent that they can find someone to come in and fill one of those holes. 

Protected List

Matt Rambo – Attack

Ryan Drenner – Attack

Connor Kelly – A/M

Mike Chanenchuk – Midfield

Tyler Warner – D-Midfield

Joe Nardella – Faceoff

Bryce Young – Defense

Tim Mueller – Defense

Matt Dunn – Defense

Michael Ehrhardt – Defense

Kyle Bernlohr – Goalie 

Unprotected List

Ben Reeves – Attack

Jay Carlson – Attack

Dylan Maltz – Attack

Drew Snider – Midfield

Jake Bernhardt – Midfield

John Haus – Midfield 

Joe Locascio – Midfield

Jeremy Sieverts – Midfield

Tim Rotanz – Midfield

Joe McCallion – Midfield

Jeff Reynolds – Midfield 

Isaac Paparo – LSM/Defense

Brett Schmidt – Defense

James Barclay – Defense

Dan Morris – Goalie

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