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Stories/Op-Ed

Wings Find Themselves on the Other Side of the Expansion Draft One Season Later

Last season, the Philadelphia Wings were at the other side of the table.

The Wings, along with the San Diego Seals were selecting teams off the rosters of the other nine National Lacrosse League teams in an attempt to stock their cabinets with promising talent.

Team number 12 and 13 enter the fray this upcoming season, flipping Philadelphia and San Diego to the other side of the process. They’ll be giving, not receiving. The Wings and Seals saw first-hand how a good expansion draft can set new teams in the right direction rather quickly.

“There are some really, really good players available,” Wings Head Coach and General Manager Paul Day said. “And the league has done a great job to make sure that the owners of the teams coming in can compete right away and they can play entertaining lacrosse.”

The Wings were one of the most entertaining teams last year, ranking in the top-five in the league in both shots (second) and goals (fourth). The Seals finished with a 10-8 record in their inaugural campaign and captured a playoff spot after finishing in second place in the West Division.

The New York Riptide and the Rochester Knighthawks will have the same opportunity to poach good players and make an impact immediately. Some of it will come at the expense of the newly formed Wings.

“We had so many injuries this year that we had a lot of young guys get exposed to the game, so we know we’re going to lose two quality players,” Day said. “But we also know these young guys are going to get an opportunity on one of these other teams and get even better, which is great for the game of lacrosse.”

Day recalled receiving players last year that would eventually shine once given the opportunity. He believes those types of players will be available this year as well.

“Steph Charbonneau and Liam Patten were on practice rosters before we drafted them and didn’t even get a chance to play,” Day said. “They come to us and they contribute right away and were some of the best rookies in the league. That speaks to the growth of the game and how this league will be able to expand in the next few years. There’s a lot of good players out there.”

Philadelphia, along with Georgia and New England, were the only teams that did not protect a goaltender in the draft. Day said his decision was based on keeping together a solid defensive unit that he believes is on the upswing.

“We like our young (defense), and it was important to protect one extra defenseman” Day said. “Our three goalies are all young guys and we know we can’t lose all of them and we know with other teams, there’s such strengths on other expansion lists that we should be able to retain at least two of them. That was probably our most difficult decision.”

Broadcast live on NLL social channels, the Expansion Draft Selection Show will be held at 12pm ET on July 9th.

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