It can be said that waiting is the hardest part.
Last year, the Vancouver Warriors had to wait until the end of the National Lacrosse League Expansion Draft to see which players would be taken from their roster. The answer came in the final two rounds as Casey Jackson and Brendan Ranford were taken respectively by the San Diego Seals. The two players accounted for just four total games for the Warriors, but any loss to a tight-knit roster is painful.
“It is always difficult when you have to make these decisions as we invest a great deal of time into all of our players,” said Warriors General Manager Dan Richardson.
Jackson was a notable loss for Vancouver as he took siege of the spotlight in San Diego, scoring 37 goals and 26 assists, ranking fourth-highest on the team.
The Warriors released their 11-man protected list on Tuesday ahead of the 2019 Expansion Draft, meaning Vancouver could potentially lose another pair of players that would make an impact for the New York Riptide or the Rochester Knighthawks next season.
Vancouver included its top six scorers on its protected list in Mitch Jones, Keegan Bal, Logan Schuss, Jordan McBride, Tony Malcom and James Rahe, but plenty of talent will be available.
Notable names such as rookie Jean-Luc Chetner (16 points last year), Joel McCready (11 points in five games) and Brandon Goodwin (nine points) were left exposed.
Defensemen Tyler Codron, Ian Hawksbee and Colton Porter – a trio that played all 18 games last season – are also available. Journeyman goaltender Aaron Bold is also at risk.
Richardson said the process of forming a protected list is a difficult task and implied that it goes much further than statistics.
“Exposing every player is difficult,” he said. “They have become part of our team and part of our community.”
Richardson said extra initiatives were taken in preparing for the expansion draft.
“As with any type of transaction, (including trades, free agents or expansion draft), you always have to do your homework,” Richardson said. “We don’t take losing any of our players lightly, so we try our utmost to ensure that the moves we make are not just good for the team, but the player if at all possible.”