(Photo Courtesy of Premier Lacrosse League)
On Sunday, all seven existing Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) clubs had to submit their protected/unprotected list. The league announced each teams’ protection lists on Monday afternoon via Twitter.
Here is a team by team breakdown:
Like most of these rosters, Archers LC and head coach Chris Bates didn’t surprise much at all. Keeping that core offense of Grant Ament, Will Manny, Marcus Holman, Tom Schreiber, and now Connor Fields was a no brainer. Similarly, they protected their top three poles in Scott Ratliff, Matt McMahon, and Eli Gobrecht. The biggest decisions this club made was protecting both Mark McNeil and Dominique Alexander for the second straight offseason. 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, again.
Atlas LC made more headlines over the past few weeks with their trades of Rob Pannell and Paul Rabil, which went official this morning, then they ever will with this protected/unprotected list. Ben Rubeor seems to have this club in official rebuild mode. The only name that really sticks out on their unprotected list is Connor Buczek. This may be due to that fact that he is currently the interim head coach at Cornell, which obviously creates a time commitment issue. Other than letting Buczek walk, they protected everyone else you would think. In particular, they kept their special teams guys in tact. Trevor Baptiste and Jack Concannon weren’t going anywhere. They also lock up Cade Van Raaphorst and Craig Chick at LSM and Jake Richard at SSDM.
Again, Chaos was able to keep their core intact on both ends. Defensively, they were able to protect their poles in Jarrod Neumann and Jack Rowlett, as well as SSDMs Mark Glicini and Pat Resch. They also surprised some by protecting both Blaze Riordan and Dillon Ward in cage. Similarly, they protected Josh Byrne, Curtis Dickson, and Austin Staats at attack and Dhane Smith and Ian MacKay at midfield to keep that offense Canadian/Box heavy. The one head scratcher is not protecting Miles Thompson and potentially allowing a Thompson brother reunion with the Cannons. They also left Deemer Class unprotected after he sat out last season due to injury and don’t protected either faceoff man, possibly hinting at where they will likely use an Entry or College draft pick.
Reece Eddy and Matt Gaudet getting left unprotected is the biggest news here. Both were one of the better rookies overall last summer. Eddy was a force on the back end and it’s had to see him not get picked up. However, Joel White does return this year after not being able to make it to the PLL Championship Series last year. So it’s not like they are just throwing talent away, they have a Team USA guy in the cupboard and they retain the remaining core of their defense. Offensively, they protected pretty much everyone except Gaudet. And remember, Tim Soudan and the majority of this team, overall, go back to the Rochester Rattlers days. The chemistry between a lot of these guys is unmatched and this club has certainly leaded on that a bunch.
It wasn’t much of a question as to who Redwoods would be protecting. They kept their entire defense intact and were able to protect the core of their offense, which now includes Rob Pannell. This gives a nice look at how this newish look offense may work next season. The only argument that one could possibly make is protecting Joe Walters instead of opting to protect SSDMs in Pat Harbeson and Jack Near. In addition, Redwoods didn’t protect either faceoff guy. It looks like that is where they will be looking to improve through the drafts this offseason.
One could argue that Andy Copelan and Waterdogs LC had some of toughest decisions to make and have the most talented unprotected list from top to bottom. The biggest name left unprotected is LSM Brodie Merrill, who probably doesn’t have too many years left and could very well end his career back with the Cannons. Just like he did for Waterdogs last summer, Merill can provide a veteran presence and be valuable in multiple facets. Offensively, Ryan Drenner, Ben Reeves, and Michael Kraus are all guys that are younger and uber-talented. You have to think at least one of them is a Cannon this summer.
I mean, come on. Does this one even need to be broken down? The biggest loss here is Max Tuttle and while Ty Warner has announced that he has retired for now due to him starting medical school at Harvard, Whipsnakes don’t really lose that much at all. A three-peat is a very, very real possibility.