Colorado Bolsters Roster with 11 Selections, Two Trades During 2020 NLL Entry Draft
The Colorado Mammoth were among the busiest teams in the league Thursday evening, as the National Lacrosse League welcomed 93 new players during the 2020 NLL Entry Draft.
Approaching the draft with 10 selections and a growing number of established forwards on the roster, Colorado went to work early and often, beginning with a trade to acquire an additional second-round selection.
With the depth of its current left-side rotation in mind, the Mammoth acquired the 28th overall selection in the 2020 NLL Entry Draft from the Rochester Knighthawks in exchange for forward Jeff Wittig. Wittig, who produced 8 points (5g, 3a) in six appearances during the 2019-20 season, moves on with a chance to contribute with Rochester while Mammoth General Manager Brad Self continues to focus on balancing assets and looking to the future of the organization.
"As enlightening of an experience that the draft provides for these clubs and young players each year, it's a reminder that as an organization, we have to constantly be balancing our current situation with hopes for the future," Mammoth General Manager Brad Self shared following the draft. "Heading into the draft, our forward room was a bit crowded, so when the opportunity to acquire a second-round pick became available, we chose to go that direction. Jeff's presence in the community and energy he brought to the Loud House have been appreciated over the past two seasons, and we wish him the best of luck with Rochester."
Slated to make its first pick of the evening with the 22nd overall selection, Colorado executed another trade in order to acquire the 18th overall selection. Finding a trading partner in the New England Black Wolves, the Mammoth acquired the 18th and 33rd overall selections in the 2020 NLL Entry Draft in exchange for the 24th overall selection and forward Jacob Ruest.
"It obviously wasn't an easy decision to move Jacob - He's been a tremendous addition to our team since we signed him four years ago," Self said. "At the end of the day, we can only dress so many guys up front and we wish him the best moving forward," Self shared.
After acquiring the 18th overall selection in the 2020 NLL Entry Draft, the Mammoth selected University at Albany standout defenseman, Ron John, with its first selection of the night. John will return to play his final season with Albany in 2021 before joining the Mammoth for the 2021-22 season. The Angola, NY native has produced 33 points (15g, 18a) in 38 games with Albany, including 9 points (5g, 4a) in four appearances during the shortened 2020 campaign.
John has found success at multiple levels of the game throughout his early career, capturing a Minto Cup with the Six Nations Arrows in 2017 and bronze medals with the Iroquois Nationals at the 2016 U19 World Field Lacrosse Championship and 2018 World Field Lacrosse Championships. In his 2019 Jr. A campaign with Six Nations, the defenseman recorded 18 points (11g, 7a) in 19 appearances.
"Ron's athleticism and lacrosse IQ really resonated with our coaching staff and he was a guy who we had high on our draft boards - so, when the opportunity to select him at 18 presented itself, we chose to execute a trade to make that happen," Self shared. "He'll be returning to school next season, where we hope he'll continue to demonstrate his ability to contribute on the offensive end, while staying sound defensively."
Four selections later, with the 22nd overall pick, Colorado selected forward Brett McIntyre. The Calgary, AB native is set to return to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County for the 2020-21 lacrosse season, where he'll look to build upon his 45 points (39g, 6a) in 34 NCAA career appearances. McIntyre recorded 6 points (4g, 2a) in 5 games this year during his shortened season at UMBC.
The potent scoring threat racked up 416 points from 2014-2018 in five seasons with the Okotoks Raiders of the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League (Jr. A), including 107 points (59g, 48a) in 2016 and 103 points (58g, 45a) in 2017, despite appearing in three less contests than the year prior. McIntyre's 416 points currently represent the most accumulated by a player in the RMLL.
As the first of six consecutive defensemen to be selected by the Mammoth Thursday, Jordan Trottier became Colorado's third, second-round selection, when the team chose him 28th overall. The 6-4, 220-lb. defenseman logged parts of three seasons at the Rochester Institute of Technology before declaring for the NLL Entry Draft this spring, following the shortened 2020 lacrosse season.
The Ottawa, ON native earned a gold medal with Team Canada during the 2018 World Junior Lacrosse Championship and most recently recorded 6 points (4g, 2a) in 15 games with the New Westminster Salmonbellies (BCLA, Jr. A) during his 2019 campaign. Trottier has the potential to bring great size and a physical, yet disciplined, approach to the Mammoth defense.
With its fourth selection of the evening, the Mammoth selected defenseman Jalen Chaster with the 31st overall pick. Chaster has played a variety of positions during his youth career en route to logging 66 points in three seasons with the Coquitlam Adanacs (BCLA, Jr. A) from 2017-2019. The Coquitlam, BC native helped the Adanacs secure the 2018 Minto Cup and recorded 32 points (9g, 23) during the 2018 regular season before adding 14 points (5g, 9a) during the team's postseason run for the championship. In 28 playoff appearances, Chaster has tallied 20 points (10g, 10a) and 10 penalty minutes. The 6-foot, 170-lb. rookie will have the opportunity to attend training camp this fall and compete for a spot on Colorado's 2020-21 roster.
As the Mammoth's fifth, and final, second-round selection, Colorado continued to add prospective depth to its defensive unit by selecting defenseman Tyler Sceviour with the 33rd overall selection. Another product of the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League (Jr. A), Sceviour spent five seasons with the Okotoks Raiders from 2014-2018 where the defenseman logged 21 points (3g, 18a) in 81 games with the club. The 23-year-old was named as the RMLL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2018 upon being selected to the league's 1st All-Star Team. The defenseman also recorded 30 games over the course of four seasons with the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he played alongside fellow 2020 NLL Entry Draft Mammoth selection Jordan Trottier.
Colorado opened its third round by choosing Curtis Conley with the 40th overall selection, a smart, physical defenseman with stick skills and experience at various levels of the game. Eligible to make his first NLL roster this fall as the Mammoth head into the 2020-21 season, Conley has logged 24 games with the Arena Lacrosse League's Whitby Steelhawks (8g, 8a) from 2018-20, 53 games with various Ontario Lacrosse Associate Jr. A clubs (10g, 20a) from 2015-19 and 38 games with a variety of OLA Jr. B clubs (25g, 17a) over the same time period. The defenseman also currently attends school at Trent University in Peterborough, ON.
Three picks later, the Mammoth selected Patrick Aslanian with the 42nd pick of the evening, remaining dedicated to bolstering the defense with another promising prospect. The two-time Big East champion with Georgetown (2018, 2019) accumulated 21 points (9g, 12a) in 47 games with the Hoyas from 2016-2019, but logged only one game played in 2018. Since graduating in 2019, Aslanian began pursuing his master's degree at Notre Dame, where he logged five games with the university during the 2020 campaign as a graduate student before the season came to halt. The defenseman also played alongside his brother, Chris, and Mammoth forward Ryan Lee this summer with the Denver Outlaws, where he logged two points (1g, 1a) in five appearances.
With the 52nd overall and final selection of the third round, the Mammoth selected Peter Dearth, a two-time All-American and 2019 ALL-ACC Honoree defenseman from Syracuse University. Scheduled to return for a fifth year of action with the university, Dearth has established himself as one of the NCAA's premier, defensive-minded short-stick midfielders while recording 19 points (14g, 5a) in 48 collegiate appearances. The defenseman's understanding of the game, on-field awareness and passion to compete will help him captain his ACC squad for a third-straight campaign next spring.
Following seven-consecutive selections which were dedicated to improving on the defensive end, Colorado selected Nate Faccin with the 58th overall pick. The BCLA Jr. A's 2019 Goaltender of the Year award recipient and two-time (2016, 2018) Minto Cup champion assumed the starting goaltender role upon Christian Del Bianco's graduation of the Coquitlam Adanacs in 2016 and hasn't looked back. Faccin posted a league-best 7.16 goals-against average and .849 save percentage during his 2019 campaign. The Maple Ridge, BC netminder will join the Mammoth at training camp this fall to field shots from some of the league's top offensive talent in Ryan Lee, Zed Williams and beyond.
The Mammoth used its last two selections on a pair of forwards in the fourth and sixth rounds, respectively.
Colorado selected forward Jared Bernhardt from the University of Maryland 66th overall. The 6-1, 195-lb. playmaker racked up 191 points (131g, 60) in four seasons with the Terrapins, including 29 points (20g, 9a) in 6 games during the shortened 2020 campaign. The 2019 Tewaaraton Award finalist has accumulated a plethora of Big 10 and USILA awards, including two All-Big 10 honors and three All-Academic Big 10 honors.
With its last selection in the 2020 NLL Entry Draft, the Mammoth selected forward Sam LeClair with the 86th overall pick. Currently a freshman at Brock University, LeClair assembled some impressive performances during his junior career, including a 79-point (38g, 41) season in 2019 with St. Catherines' Jr. B team, among his 228 career points (97g, 131a) in 74 Jr. B appearances. The forward has added 31 points (12g, 19a) in 14 appearances with St. Catherines' Jr. A squad, and most recently helped Team Canada secure a gold medal at the 2019 World Junior Lacrosse Championship.
"We're pleased with how the draft unfolded for us last night - Our coaching staff and scouts did a great job analyzing talent and preparing for this year's draft," Self shared Friday. "We're proud to have taken part in league's first virtual draft and can now turn our attention to training camp and preparing for the upcoming season."
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National Lacrosse League Stories from September 18, 2020
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