IL Indoor counts down best draft-eligible players for #NLLDraft on Sept. 22
The road to the National Lacrosse League goes through Toronto Rock Athletic Centre (TRAC) in Oakville, Ontario with the 2014 NLL Draft on Monday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. ET. Watch live on NLL.com and on YouTube via The Lacrosse Network (YouTube.com/TLN).
Which future stars are the top prospects for this year’s draft? NLL draft guru & analyst Stephen Stamp from IL Indoor counts down the best young players in the game today with the NLL Draft Top 50 Prospects, starting with players ranked 41-50.
“As we have done for years, IL Indoor brings you our top 50 prospects list for players entering the draft,” Stamp writes. “As usual, this is not a prediction of what order the players will be selected in, because that depends largely on team needs. What we’re presenting is the list of the Top 50 prospects as we see them.
“This is a particularly difficult year for determining this list. It’s not the deepest draft pool in recent years, with only about a half dozen or so players that look like strong bets to make the teams that will be drafting them. There are, however, lots of good players who will force teams to take a hard look at their rosters to see if they need to make space for the youngsters.
“Today’s column includes the players ranked 41-50. We’ll be rolling out another 10 players each day, culminating in the final 10 on Sunday.”
41 – Michael Fournier – G Orangeville Northmen (OLA Jr A)
Fournier followed the traditional Orangeville route for a goalie. He apprenticed behind last year’s 3rd overall NLL draft pick Dillon Ward then inherited the starter’s role with the Orangemen for the last two summers. He’s not particularly big for a goalie, relying on positioning and movement to make saves. Despite losing both his games in this year’s OLA playoffs, Fournier put up good numbers, allowing just 7.40 goals against and posting an .832 save percentage. With only 18 goalie spots available in the NLL, he’s not likely to make a team right away, but could pique someone’s interest as a practice roster goalie to get a chance to develop and show he can play against the best shooters in the world.
42 – Eric Guiltanen – LT KW Braves (OLA Jr A)
Guiltinan helped himself when he had a chance to play up with the KW Kodiaks of MSL a bit this summer. He’s an energy player who works hard and never gives up on a play. He played all 20 games for the Braves this summer, putting up 12 points and accumulating 56 PIM. He’s the type of player who could help his stock in the scrimmage at the NLL Combine by impressing GMs and coaches with his work ethic. He’s quick, aggressive and relentless.
43 – Kyle Isaacs – LT Six Nations Rebels (OLA Jr B), St. Catharines Athletics (OLA Jr A)
If it was just about talent, Isaacs would be much higher on this list. He scored 72 points (24g, 48a) in 19 games for the Rebels in the regular season and added 19 points in seven playoff games, but he didn’t finish the season with the team. He’s had some issues with authority and responsibility that make him a bit of a risk for any NLL team that takes a chance on him. Isaacs is fast and talented with good size and a good lacrosse sense. He performed well in 2012 and 2013 in a two-way role with Ohsweken in the semi-pro league. There’s little question that he has the ability to challenge for an NLL roster spot.
44 – Kyle Potter – RF St. Catharines Athletics (OLA Jr A)
After three consistent summers with the Jr B St. Catharines Spartan (69, 67 and 70 points), Potter stepped up to Jr A this summer and kept producing. On a team that finished third-lowest in the league in scoring, Potter managed 64 points (20g, 44a). He’s elusive and has good floor vision.
45 – Peyton Lupul – LF Burnaby Lakers (BCJALL)
He’s a tough guy with some scoring touch, or a scorer with plenty of grit, depending on your perspective. Lupul put up 12 goals and 48 assists for 60 points with the Lakers this summer. He almost doubled that up with 117 PIM. He was second on the team in scoring, including leading the Lakers in assists.
46 – Jordan Dance – LF Orangeville Northmen (OLA Jr A)
Dance is a pesky lefty who has a winning pedigree, having won a Founders Cup with the Halton Hills Bulldogs and a Minto Cup with the Northmen. He’s not a big scorer but he can put the ball in the net and help facilitate an offence.
47 – Anthony Patterson – LD Six Nations Arrows (OLA Jr A)
Patterson was part of the Arrows defence that was by far the best in the OLA this summer. They gave up just 6.55 goals per game through the regular season. Patterson was solid in his own end and got out in transition on occasion, putting up 7 goals and 6 assists to go with his 67 PIM. He has decent size and a bit of a mean streak that should serve him well as he moves on to higher levels of the game.
48 – Zach Rogers – Providence College (NCAA)
Despite playing as a middie/attack at Providence, Rogers is a stay at home defender indoors. He’s a big guy at 6’5”, 215 pounds. He played regularly for the Thunder once he arrived from school this summer and held his own. He doesn’t have a ton of box experience but is going all in for the game, playing in Canada in the summer and planning to attend the NLL Combine.
49 – Seth Laidlaw – RF Halton Hills Bulldogs (OLA Jr B)
A talented smaller player who is adept at setting up his teammates and can score as well. After a 113-point 2013 season, Laidlaw was only able to play six regular-season games this summer with the Bulldogs, but he scored 31 points then posted 62 in a dozen playoff games. He works well as part of a team offence, not needing to be the primary option to be effective. Will face the challenge that all Jr B stars do in attempting to adjust quickly to a much higher level of play.
50 – Connor Eustace – LD Brampton (MSL)
Eustace is another player who earns whatever he gets in the game with hustle and hard work. He played for the Newmarket Saints in Jr B, where he caught the eye of Excelsiors coach Clem D’Orazio. When the Excels needed some players to fill out their roster, D’Orazio gave Eustace a chance and he earned more playing time with his speed and determination; got into 16 games over the past two seasons with Brampton. Learns quickly and has good footwork to allow him to stay with bigger players.