After a long offseason, the 2019 Draft is just around the corner. While some teams have primed themselves for a big night, others may be left waiting to make the most out of the few picks they have. Let’s find out who is positioned best to make some noise on September 17th.
1 – Georgia Swarm: With 11 total picks, the Swarm are poised to be a contender in the East again. Having picks in all six rounds is nice as it will allow them to add late round depth, but it’s their 5 picks in the first two rounds, including two first rounders, that has them at the top of this year’s draft. Expect the Swarm to come away with a very strong rookie class.
2 – New York Riptide: Coming in with 10 picks, New York will be able to fill their roster with tons of youth and depth. Two picks in the top 10 is a huge bonus to go along with the much-coveted first overall selection. GM Regy Thorpe and the Riptide should fare quite well in their first entry draft.
3 – Saskatchewan Rush: Sure, seven picks are a nice luxury to have for the Rush, but three picks in the first round is insane. Don’t be surprised if GM Derek Keenan uses all those picks and bolsters an already-stacked roster. It doesn’t hurt that Saskatchewan will get Ryan Dilks and Jeff Cornwall back next season, giving Keenan some flexibility with his selections.
4 – Rochester Knighthawks: Rochester already has a nice foundation from the expansion draft, and with eight picks in the first four rounds, they will continue to add to that with some very talented players. The second overall pick will give GM Dan Carey a bonafide stud to help kickstart the new franchise.
5 – New England Black Wolves: Trading away Kevin Crowley gave the Wolves a top-three pick to go along with a supplemental first rounder for losing Aaron Bold. Two picks in the first round is huge for a club that has been on the verge of becoming a real threat. Four of their seven total picks are in the top 30 of the draft, so expect GM Rich Lisk to be quite aggressive in his selections.
6 – Calgary Roughnecks: The defending champs have lost some key pieces in the off-season, through injuries, free-agency and the expansion draft, so their two first-round picks will allow them to fill those holes immediately. Even better, those selections are back-to-back, so GM Mike Board can be confident with who he’s getting.
7 – Halifax Thunderbirds: Getting comfortable in their new home shouldn’t take the Thunderbirds long. This is still a veteran-heavy squad, even with their struggles in 2018, so having two first-round picks should help them improve on last year. Five total selections aren’t that impressive, but their two picks in the top 15 ensures them a strong draft.
8 – Colorado Mammoth: It’s been three years since the Mammoth have selected in the first round, making this year’s 6th overall pick an very important one. No matter how the top 5 picks shake out, the Mammoth will have an extremely talented player waiting for them. With six picks overall, GM/Head Coach Pat Coyle will be looking to find a few more gems in the middle rounds which has been quite beneficial for them over the past few drafts.
9 – Buffalo Bandits: The reigning East Division champs come into the draft with seven picks including a top-15 selection. Losing Shawn Evans and Jordan Durston in the expansion draft creates a big void, so drafting a forward seems like a natural fit for the Bandits. GM Steve Dietrich has five picks in the first four rounds, which will all be used to deepen an already impressive lineup.
10 – Toronto Rock: If it wasn’t for the compensation pick given to Toronto for losing Brodie Merrill in free-agency last year, they wouldn’t be on the clock until number 27, so the 15th overall pick is a much-needed boost. They do have picks in every round, but it’s their first rounder that will be of the utmost importance. There is a ton of local defensive GTA talent in this year’s draft, so expect GM Jamie Dawick to know exactly who he wants to select.
11 – Philadelphia Wings: The Wings are a team in need, and not having a first-round selection doesn’t help. It will be very interesting to watch how GM Paul Day maneuvers through this draft. Six picks in the final five rounds including two in the fourth round will allow Day to add depth, but being able to finesse that depth into every-game talent will be a challenge.
12 – San Diego Seals: The lure of sunny winters in So-Cal has allowed the Seals to be very active in free agency, so only having 5 picks may not be that much of a negative for GM/Head Coach Pat Merrill. The additions of Wes Berg and veteran defender Mike Carnegie have helped fill some holes already, allowing the Seals to be patient for their back-to-back picks in the second round.
13 – Vancouver Warriors: The previous regime didn’t do GM Dan Richardson any favours trading away a bounty of first-round picks over the years in desperate attempts to fix a sinking ship. Richardson traded away their third-round selection to reacquire Brandon Goodwin who was taken in the expansion draft, so the Warriors won’t step to the podium until the fourth round. One saving grace may be if teams pass on some underrated Western players and they fall to Vancouver.