(Photo Courtesy of PLL)
The Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) Draft will take place on Wednesday, May 13th at 7:00pm and will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network.
The 2020 PLL draft might be the strangest one of all-time due to the craziness that the lacrosse world has been thrown into due to the Coronavirus outbreak, which prompted the college lacrosse season to be cancelled and pro leagues to halt play. Also, the once extremely talented group that was the 2020 senior class in college lacrosse is now less stacked as the NCAA has granted players an extra year of eligibility, which has many players either returning to their respective schools or entering the transfer portal to find a home for one last run.
Additionally, this year’s draft and PLL season will look much different due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The draft will feature just two rounds and the league will play a tournament in one location instead of a full season at a different location each weekend as originally planned.
Despite all the remaining unknowns surrounding the lacrosse world, teams will still be focusing on getting the best players to fit their needs during this upcoming draft. Here is a look at each team’s needs coming into the 2020 PLL Draft.
Key Losses: Christian Cuccinello (A), Ben McIntosh (M), Dan Eipp (M)
Key Additions: Eli Gobrecht (D), Christian Mazzone (M)
While Archers LC return their big three on offense in attackmen Will Manny and Marcus Holman, and midfielder Tom Schreiber, they lost some valuable pieces in the Expansion Draft. However, they were able to soften the blow, especially at the midfield, by getting Christian Mazzone in the Entry Draft. Also, their defense, which was statically the best in the league last season, got better with the addition of Eli Gobrect in the Entry Draft.
The main area where they need to focus on adding talent is behind the cage at X. With Cuccinello gone they lack talent that can be a dodging threat behind the cage. Also, they did have some struggles trying to initiate offense from behind the cage on a regular basis last season.
Key Losses: Kieran McArdle (A), Noach Richard (D), Steve DeNapoli (SSDM), Ryan Conrad (M)
Key Additions: Rob Pannell (A), Craig Chick (D/LSM), Romar Dennis (M)
Under new head coach Ben Rubeor, Atlas LC looks to take a step forward after a rough 2019 season. They have added some more star power and addressed certain needs by getting Rob Pannell and Craig Chick via the Entry Draft and Romar Dennis via trade, which helped replace some of the key guys they lost in the Expansion Draft.
Coming into this draft, they need to focusing on adding more talent in the middle of the field. And specifically two-way talent. Atlas had one of the worst transition defenses last season and losing Steve DeNapoli, who was a significant part of their success defending u top, does not help that situation. So, it would not be surprising to see them try and pick up either a straight up SSDM or a guy that can make an impact on both ends.
Key Losses: Brodie Merrill (D/LSM), Charlie Cipriano (G), Kyle McClancy (M), Myles Jones (M)
Key Additions: Dillon Ward (G), Jason Noble (M), Sergio Salcido (M)
Chaos has had one interesting offseason up to this point. They took a decent it in the expansion draft, losing two big contributors from last season in Brodie Merrill and Kyle McClancy, and they traded away Myles Jones for Sergio Salcido. However, they did quite well in the Entry Draft, picking up Dillon Ward to make their goalie situation very interesting and getting a good talent in Jason Noble, which helped ease their losses in the middle of the field a bit.
The one area where Chaos should be looking to add talent in this draft is finding a pure shooter. Last season, this team was not very effective in the six-on-six and had trouble moving the ball like they should have been able to. Getting a guy that can play off-ball and has some range will help this club in the six-on-six immensely this season and help bring some balance to their offense, which is heavy on ball carriers.
Key Losses: Chris Sabia (D), Joe Fletcher (D), Max Tuttle (M), Romar Dennis (M)
Key Additions: Jesse Bernhardt (LSM), Danny Moss (D), Foster Huggins (D), James Barcley (D)
New head coach Tim Soudan looks to turn Chrome LC, who was the worst team in the league last season, around this summer. And he has already addressed multiple glaring needs this offseason to help solve their six-on-six defensive woes that were very apparent last season.
With those moves made on the defensive end, Chrome will likely focus on the offensive end during this draft. With an offense led by Jordan Wolf, Ned Crotty, and Justin Guterding Chrome had a plethora of dodging threats and guys who can initiate. So, it would make sense for them to try and snag an off-ball threat in this draft that can give them some balance. Additionally, they still lack quality depth in the middle of the field at the SSDM spot.
Key Losses: Serigo Salcido (M), Brian Karalunas (D), Wes Berg (M)
Key Additions: Myles Jones (M), Finn Sullivan (D), Greg Puskuldjian (FO)
The 2019 PLL Runner Up has upgraded their offense this offseason by trading for Myles Jones to create one of the scariest midfields in the game. Coach Nat St. Laurent also grabbed Finn Sullivan in the Entry Draft to add another major threat to their already impressive defense. So, it is safe to say this team might have improved more than any this offseason.
However, they still have one main need that they can fill in this draft. While they got Greg Puckuldjian in the Entry Draft to help soften the blow of losing Greg Gurelian to retirement, Redwoods LC could still certainly use some help at the faceoff dot. Whether Puskuldjian can be The Guy or not, adding depth at a position that can be taxing is always a plus.
Key Losses: Ben Reeves (A), Connor Kelly (A/M), Drew Snider (M), Ryan Drenner (A)
Key Additions: Zed Williams (A/M), TJ Comizio (SSDM), Max Tuttle (M)
The defending champs look to defend their crown in 2020, but they were hit the hardest by losses this offseason. In the expansion draft, Whipsnakes LC lost a lot of offensive firepower. But the one piece of good news for Coach Jim Stagnitta is that they were able to keep their defense in tact.
Adding Zed Williams and Max Tuttle addressing the needs they have on the offensive end and TJ Comizio deepens their already deep defensive midfield. However, Whipsnakes still need to find some more firepower at attack to compliment reigning MVP Matt Rambo. It seems very likely that Whipsnakes will go for an attackman in this draft to fill that very need.
Key Losses: N/A
Key Additions: Everyone
As the head coach of the PLL’s newest team, Andy Copelan is in a very unique situation coming into this draft. This is an all new team with a roster full of guys who haven’t played together before. And while Waterdogs LC loaded up on “positionless” players that can make an impact in a multitude of ways, they still have some areas of need that can certainly be addressed in this draft.
The biggest area of need for this Waterdogs team is on the defensive end. While they have picked up some studs like Brodie Merrill, Brian Karalunas, Ryland Rees, and Chris Sabia, only Karalunas and Sabia are full-time close defenseman. So adding quality depth on the back line to compliment some of their stud defensive players up top is crucial for this squad.