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MEET THE PROSPECTS

Dyson Williams, LF, Duke & Brooklin MSL

*Returning to Duke for graduate year

Dyson Williams comes into this draft as lacrosse royalty – the projected first overall pick, an heir apparent. He’s the son of Hall of Fame forward Shawn Williams, and grew up surrounded by the sport and his father’s success. Williams may already be better than his father, or at least has the potential to be very early in his career. He’s already bigger than his father in height and weight and uses his size like a seasoned veteran.

Williams was forced to grow up early – in 2014, at age 14, after losing his eight-year-old brother Tucker to Burkitt’s Lymphoma. The loss forced him to mature quickly as he dealt with the off-floor tragedy. Whoever drafts Williams should leave the number 51 open for him so he can continue on both the legacy that his father started, and younger brother continued, by wearing the number.

Williams has been a star at Duke since 2020, and finished the recent World Lacrosse Championships fourth in scoring on a stacked Team Canada. Though he didn’t play box lacrosse this summer, he showed “in his rookie MSL season of 2022 that he was ready not just to play, but to excel, against men. Williams led the league in both goals (26) and points (45) in the 12-game regular season.” (via Stephen Stamp)

 

Brock Haley, RF, Vermont & Whitby Warriors Jr. A

 *Returning to Vermont for graduate year

2022 was a great year for Brock Haley; not only did he win the Minto Cup with the Whitby Warriors, but he also helped Canada win a silver medal at the U21 World Field Lacrosse Championship. He’s a pure goal scorer: with the Warriors he scored at a torrid pace, with 74 goals and 120 points total in 16 regular season games. He added another 55 points in 10 playoff games and then 29 Minto Cup points.

 

Matthew Wright, RD, North Carolina & Peterborough Lakers MSL

 *Transferring to Syracuse for graduate year

Defender Matthew Wright’s box lacrosse experience has been scattered over the last few years, but once he finishes school, Peterborough Lakers’ general manager Paul Day expects him to be a regular contributor to the stacked MSL team’s lineup. Wright only got in three games in his rookie season, contributing two assists, before heading back to school.

At UNC, Wright was a four-year ACC Academic Honor Roll student. Prior to that, he helped the Hill Academy raise over $80k for Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital. With his intellect and compassion, whoever drafts Wright will get the whole package of a character player.

 

Kaleb Benedict, RF, Orangeville Northmen Jr. A

Kaleb Benedict is one of the few projected early-rounders who will be available right away should a team want him.

He spent a couple of years playing junior B in Akwesasne before a breakout 2023 with the Orangeville Northmen, who went undefeated until the OJLL Finals, where they lost to Minto Cup champion Burlington. He finished fifth in team scoring with 95 points over 26 games for an average of 3.7 points per game.

Benedict played his minor lacrosse for his hometown Onondaga Redhawks, and more recently played for Armory in the UCBLL (2021) and the Syracuse Spark of the PBLA (2023). He also won a silver medal with the Seneca War Chiefs at the 2018 Founder’s Cup.

 

Payton Cormier, LF, Virginia & Brooklin MSL/Mimico Jr. A

*Returning to Virginia for graduate year

Payton Cormier started his junior lacrosse career bouncing between Mississauga Jr. B and Mimico Jr. A. A breakout 2017 season with Mississauga (49 points in 14 games) saw him make the permanent jump to Jr. A in 2018, where he contributed 51 points in 19 games. Cormier didn’t play box lacrosse this summer and his 2022 rookie season in Brooklin was limited to just five games.

At Virginia, he led the Cavaliers in goals in consecutive seasons (2021, 2022) and then hit career highs in goals, assists and points to earn a Tewaaraton nomination in 2023.

Cormier’s overall athletic ability will be prized at the draft. He played four different sports in high school and won five provincial championships and five national championships.

 

Jake Stevens, RT, Princeton & Brooklin MSL

*Transferring to Syracuse for graduate year

With Jake Stevens, a team will get a great two-way player. He concentrates on defence first but doesn’t miss many chances to run the floor, which led to two consecutive Jr. A seasons where he scored over 30 points. In 2018, he was named the Terry Sanderson Memorial Award Winner as Most Outstanding Transition Player in the OJLL.


Adam Poitras, LF, Brooklin Lacrosse Club MSL/Whitby Warriors Jr A & Loyola

*Returning to Loyola for graduate year

Poitras was the captain that Whitby needed during their 2022 Minto Cup run. He scored 104 points in 18 regular season games alone, before contributing another 83 points in the playoffs and Minto Cup. He is the kind of player who can run your offence, helping to draw contributions from everyone on the floor, while also having the ability to create chances for himself and make things happen without any help when necessary. (Stephen Stamp)

Poitras also helped Canada win a silver medal at the U19 World Field Lacrosse Championships.

 

Mike Robinson, LF, Peterborough Lakers MSL & Delaware

*Returning to Delaware for graduate year

Robinson showed flashes of the player he will become as a call up for the MSL’s Peterborough Lakers. Like Taite Cattoni before him, he worked hard enough to make the coaches sit up and take notice, and even got into playoff games where he continued to contribute.

Robinson has had a stellar field lacrosse career (he still has a season to go with Delaware), following in the footsteps of fellow Peterborough native John Grant Jr. to light it up with the Blue Hens, including a 53-goal junior season. (Stephen Stamp)

 

Matt Abbott, RD, Langley Thunder WLA & Queens (NC)

Abbott saw action in the 2022 Mann Cup as a call up, and this season took over as Langley’s full-time face-off man. In game 7 of the WLA finals he won 19 of 22 face-offs. Abbott has renounced his final year of NCAA eligibility.

 

Ben MacDonnell, LD, Brooklin Lacrosse Club MSL

MacDonnell is a hard-working defender and he has a Minto Cup championship to prove it. He seamlessly transitioned to Sr. A lacrosse this summer with Brooklin, appearing in 13 of their 14 regular season games. He’s also already spent a year playing against men as a member of the ALL’s Oshawa Outlaws.

 

Jake Bowen, LF, Edmonton Miners Jr A & Queens (NC)

After scoring 76 points in his final year of Jr A and using his combination of size and skill to help the Edmonton Miners reach the Minto Cup final in 2022, Bowen spent this summer as the third lefty option behind Dane Dobbie and Connor Robinson (with Curtis Dickson and Robert Church across the floor) with Langley in the WLA. (Stephen Stamp)


Connor O’Toole, G, Brampton Excelsiors Jr A & Brock University

O’Toole could also be considered lacrosse royalty coming into the draft, as the son of NLL Hall of Fame goaltender Pat O’Toole. Just a year ago, the younger O’Toole was splitting time between Brampton’s Jr. A and Jr. B clubs, but in 2023 he was the backbone of the Jr. A team, playing 1116 minutes over 19 games with an impressive 8.82 GAA. He also helped his university club at Brock with the Baggaway Cup in 2021.

 

Callum Jones, RD, Oakville Rock Sr B & Norwich

An all-around athlete, Jones plays both hockey and lacrosse at Norwich until he declared early for the draft. Jones was the recipient of the 2018 John “Gus” McCauley Memorial Award as Most Outstanding Defensive Player in the OJLL, and he’s only gotten better from there, seeing time with the Oakville Rock in both Sr. B and the MSL.

 

Andrew Kidd, G, Toronto Beaches Jr A

Kidd is yet another young, star OJLL goaltender looking to make a mark on the NLL, like Chris Origlieri before him, Deacan Knott, and Connor O’Toole, who is also in this draft. Kidd helped backstop the Toronto Beaches to a Minto Cup berth in 2022 and took over as starting goalie in 2023 playing 1113 minutes with an 8.19 GAA. Kidd also faced NLL-caliber shooters with the ALL’s Toronto Monarchs this year.

 

Bennett Smith, LD, Victoria Shamrocks WLA & Queens (NC)

Smith captained the Edmonton Miners to a Minto Cup berth in 2022, where they fell in the final to Whitby. He jumped to Sr. A this summer with the Victoria Shamrocks, where he showed some transition jump with 14 points in 18 games. (Stephen Stamp)

 

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