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Rush Add Three Saskatchewan Players in 2021 NLL Draft

August 30, 2021 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Saskatchewan Rush News Release

Even an experienced general manager like Derek Keenan can be in for a surprise from time to time.

When the Saskatchewan Rush GM prepared to make his announcement for the first of back-to-back picks in the 2021 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft, he certainly had a number of names in mind that could be part of his team's roster for years to come. However, he didn't expect that Jake Boudreau would be available, and he didn't waste any time scooping him up.

Boudreau, a lefty transition, and Ryan Barnable, a left defenceman, were the two first-rounders that Keenan selected during yesterday's virtual draft and the long-time boss the Rush couldn't have been more delighted. Saskatchewan had consecutive picks at No. 7 and No. 8 thanks to previous trades with Colorado and Philadelphia.

"Ecstatic with both picks," said Keenan. "Both players fit our D-transition mold and both fit our future plans as they are returning to finish their NCAA eligibility.

Boudreau being there at number seven was a bit of a shocker. We were kind of background high-fiving off-camera. Barnable is a player I've watched since he was a young boy, so we're very familiar with his tenacity and skill set."

Boudreau was the Ontario Junior 'A' League's Transition Player of the Year in 2019 and completed his junior career with 120 points in 91 games. Noted for his blend of athleticism and overall talent, the 6-foot-2, 185-pounder is a unique book-end to 2020 Rush first-rounder Connor McClelland - another top-rated defenceman with high-end abilities at both ends of the floor. The Brampton, Ontario, native will return for a final season with Robert Morris University where he already earned a pair of conference Academic Honor Roll awards with the Colonials.

As Keenan noted, Barnable has been on the Rush radar for years as the 5-foot-11, 195-pounder hails from Whitby, Ontario, where the Rush GM was a highly successful coach for decades. Barnable notched 79 points in 58 junior games, earning praise for combining gritty play in his own end with skills on offence as well. He is expected to return for a final season of NCAA action with the 2021 Div. III champion RIT Tigers. In 2019, Barnable earned Second Team All-American honors and was a First Team All-Liberty League selection.

Here's how the remainder of the 2021 NLL Entry Draft played out for the Saskatchewan Rush

Round 2 (29th overall) - Mackenzie Burke

A product of the Brampton Excelsiors junior program, Burke declared early for this year's draft. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder recorded 11 points in 37 games for his hometown team. Burke also suited up as a goalkeeper for the Saint Joseph's University Hawks.

"He was not a sleeper in our minds," said Rush Head Coach Jeff McComb. "He's a big, lanky guy, aggressive on the ball. We definitely liked what we saw of him."

Round 3 (43rd overall) - Ethan Forgrave

Hailing from Edmonton, Alberta, the lefty forward scorched opposing defences and goaltenders in the junior ranks - 90 points at the Junior 'A' level with the St. Albert Miners and 167 points, including 90 goals, in Junior 'B'. The 2019 Rocky Mountain League all-star, who stands 5-foot-9, 160 pounds, also plays field lacrosse for McGill University in Montreal.

"A very skilled player. Athletic, quick. I think he's got a good future," noted Keenan.

Round 3 (45th overall) - Mason Kamminga

A member of the 2021 Ontario Junior 'A' League champion St. Catharines Athletics, Kamminga has all the makings of rugged defender. The 6-foot-1, 198-pounder's physical earned him 144 penalty minutes in 83 games, but there more to his game, including faceoff skills. Kamminga played for the University of Detroit Mercy where he earned a spot on the MAAC Conference All-Academic Team in 2020 and was a two-time MAAC Academic Honor Roll member.

"It was a bit of surprise that he was still there for us so a very good mid-draft pick," said Keenan.

Round 4 (60th overall) - Troy Gutkowski

Staying true to form, the Rush go local with this turn in the draft, selecting the lefty forward from the Saskatchewan SWAT. The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Winnipeg native had 23 points in nine games with SWAT and flashed his playmaking talent with 10 assists in three games suiting up for Canada West at the recent World Junior Lacrosse Championship.

Round 5 (75th overall) - Keegan White

Saskatoon's own gets the call here as the 6-foot, 196-pound defenceman known for his tough-minded, consistent play and leadership abilities is the pick. White suited up for Canada West at the 2018 World Junior Lacrosse Championship.

Round 6 (89th overall) - Jordin Tabin

It's a hat trick of Saskatchewan SWAT talents for the Rush. A hard-working defenceman on the turf, Tabin is on the roster of the Saskatoon Hilltops as a running back.

"When these players from the SWAT get good references from their coaches for their character and their athleticism, you rely on that and go from there," added Keenan.

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