PLL Expansion Draft Protection Lists Breakdown

On Monday, all six existing Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) clubs had to submit their protected/unprotected list to the league by 5pm ET. The league announced each teams’ protection lists on Monday night via Twitter. 

Here is a team by team breakdown:

Archers LC

Overall, head coach Chris Bates and Archers didn’t surprise too much with their decisions of who to protect or not protect. However, with only protecting two attackmen and protecting Stephen Kelly at the faceoff position, they did hint at where they will likely be using that first overall pick in the 2020 draft. And, remember, they also have Pat Spencer if he decides to play this summer. 

The biggest decision made by Bates here was to protect both Mark McNeil and Dominique Alexander. By doing so, it shows the premium that they put on the short stick defensive midfield position – which isn’t unusual given the importance of the position with the PLL’s rules. Also, they decided to protect Drew Adams over Adam Ghitleman at the goalie position and protecting Ryan Ambler at midfield shows their confidence in what he can become at that spot, possibly running both ends. 

Atlas LC

Newly-minted Atlas LC head coach Ben Rubeor elected to make some interesting decisions. For one, Atlas didn’t protect either Kieran McArdle or Chris Cloutier at attack, leaving two high-profile guys open to getting picked up by Waterdogs. They also only protected Kyle Hartzell and Tucker Durkin at defense, leaving Cade Van Raaphorst and Callum Robinson unprotected. 

While their decisions at attack and defense raised some eyebrows, they also did some interesting things at midfield, as well. Paul Rabil and Connor Buczek were obvious locks, but electing to protect John Crawley, Kevin Unterstein, and Jake Richard was puzzling to some. Especially since that mean leaving Joel Tinney and Ryan Conrad unprotected. Both Tinney and Conrad have potential to be consistent contributors as two-way midfielders in this league, and being younger makes their ceiling a bit higher than some other more veteran players. 

Chaos LC

With one of the deepest rosters in the league, many suggest that Chaos LC head coach Andy Towers had some of the toughest decisions of any coach in the league. And while some are raising their eyebrows at some of the guys left unprotected, Chaos was able to keep their core intact, especially on the defensive end with three poles (Jarrod Neumann, Troy Reh, Jack Rowlett) and SSDM Mark Glicini getting protected. And the decision to not protect Brodie Merrill shows a clear strategy to protect youth, but Merrill is certainly has to be high on Waterdogs list. 

Offensively, ot protecting Miles Thompson or Dhane Smith does raise some eyebrows, but being able to protect Connor Fields and Josh Byrne at attack and Deemer Class, Myles Jones, and Jake Froccaro at midfield is huge for this squad. And it shouldn’t be ignored that Chaos does get to keep attackman Austin Staats, along with LSM/D Matt Rees, and defenman Johnny Surdick who are all exempt from the expansion draft. Greyson Torain was thought to be exempt, as well, since he is active duty military but was listed as unprotected. So there is some uncertainty there. 

Chrome LC

Many pegged Chrome LC as the team that maybe had the least amount of questions coming into Monday, but newly-minted Chrome head coach Tim Soudan did surprise some with a few decisions. Electing to not protect either Romar Dennis or Max Tuttle was a huge shock, especially considering how effective both can be as two-way midfielders. 

Chrome only protecting two attackmen and two defensemen is not a surprising at all. However, it does open up a discussion around which way they lean in the draft with the third overall pick. They could get one of the elite attackmen in this class like Penn State’s Mac O’Keefe, who will likely be the best available at third overall, or they can get a close defenseman like Duke’s JT Giles-Harris. Overall, it’ll be interesting to see what Chrome does from here. 

Redwoods LC

Because of the immense depth that Redwoods LC possesses on defense, many expected this list to contain a few more surprises. However, with Matt Landis being exempt as an active duty military member, a fact very few knew, Redwoods were able to protect Garrett Epple, Eddy Glazener, and John Sexton on defense. Having Landis be exempt opened up the room for them to protect three attackmen, as well. 

The biggest surprises are at midfield, for sure. First off, faceoff man Greg Gurelian was left unprotected. Also, Redwoods elected to go with some older guys instead of youth at the midfield position, protecting both Joe Walters and Kyle Harrison and leaving Sergio Salcido and Wes Berg unprotected. SSDM Pat Harbeson getting left unprotected was a bit of a shock, too. 

  Whipsnakes LC

The defending champions were the last team to have their protected/unprotected lists released. And they also created the most buzz, especially with their decision to have Matt Rambo be the only attackman they protect. But that decision also echoed how important their defense and midfield is, especially in this league. 

Making a point to protect their whole defense was expected from head coach Jim Stagnitta. Also, protecting Mike Chanenchuk and Jake Bernhardt is proof that playing into the PLL rules matters. Bernhardt has the ability to be a two-way midfielder and Chanenchuk is the king of two-pointers. Additionally, while Whipsnakes will certainly lose guys to Waterdogs, they have enough depth to live with it. And remember, only a maximum of four players can be taken from a single team in the expansion draft.


One thought on “PLL Expansion Draft Protection Lists Breakdown

  1. Do you have any information on when Landis enlisted? Odd for this info to come out in this way rather than from him.


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