MSL general managers looking forward to MSL Entry Draft
By Rad Joseph
Major Series Lacrosse
In a unique situation that will see MSL teams drafting graduating players without having the benefit of directly scouting the players since the 2019 season, Major Series Lacrosse will hold its 2021 Entry Draft on Thursday, March 18. The draft is comprised of five rounds of selections by the six teams, for a total of 30 possible selections.
With the challenges COVID-19 presents, the MSL draft will not be live streamed. However, “up to the second” results will be released via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Fans of MSL can seek information beginning shortly after 7pm on draft night.
“2021 see's 287 graduating juniors from the 50 Ontario junior clubs looking to crack Major Series Lacrosse lineups,” MSL commissioner Doug Luey said. “This year’s draft is going to be difficult for the league general managers due to the pandemic. With the lost year of lacrosse most didn't get the normal ability to scout in person. That being said, on the flip side with additional spots opening up in senior lacrosse there are numerous opportunities for these graduates and we look forward to seeing them back on the floor."
In regards to individual team selections, the Brooklin Lacrosse Club and Peterborough Lakers each have seven selections. Brooklin has three picks in the first round and four of the first seven overall choices to be made. Without giving even a hint of his potential selections, BLC general manager Brad MacArthur is holding his cards close to his chest.
“This draft like many others presents its own unique list of challenges,” MacArthur said. “We’ve spoke to some players and will continue to do so up until we’re ready to go Thursday evening.”
Peterborough’s seven selections include three in the third round. Lakers general manager Paul Day said he certainly has an eye to the future for the defending Mann Cup champion.
“We hope to be able to select some players that can contribute to the Lakers in the future.” Day said. “This draft is deep at the forward position and also some young defenseman that should transition well to the Senior game.”
Cobourg, who did not qualify for the 2019 playoffs, know what the success of an entry draft can bring. The Kodiaks have a total of five picks, including two of the first three overall selections in round one. After a solid beginning in the 2019 season, the Kodiaks faded in the last half finishing fifth overall. The 2021 draft could be pivotal in assisting Cobourg to qualify for the playoffs.
“We are looking to build on the 2019 season,” Kodiaks general manager John Webb said. “We picked up some great talent with Latrell Harris and Ethan Woods in a previous draft. In the 2021 draft we are looking to add more depth to our defence and more importantly to our offence. We had the great start in 2019 but the lack of scoring depth hindered us in the stretch run. There are some good young defensive and offensive players available in this draft.”
The Oakville Rock have a total of four draft picks, including three of their selections being among the first 10 players to be selected. General manager Steve Dietrich smiled couldn’t be happier.
“We are excited to have three picks in the top 10 of the draft,” Dietrich said. “The consensus on the top players available varies depending on who you talk to because you are going off information from two summers ago. Our staff has done a lot of background work and are confident we are going to find 4 players that we believe will come in and help make the Oakville Rock a better lacrosse team."
The Owen Sound club has four selections – one in each of the second, third, fourth, and fifth rounds. General manager Steve McCarthy is also excited to see what draft night will bring.
“I don’t want to be cliché, but we will look to draft who we deem to be the best available player at the time when we make our selection,” McCarthy. “After the draft as we assemble our roster, we will sort out from there and how each of the drafted players fit into our current or future roster.”
The former Brampton-based team had nine selections in the 2019 Entry Draft, which helped improve the team to nine wins, which secured a playoff spot from their five wins and not making the playoffs in 2018.
The Six Nations Chiefs have the fewest number of selections in the 2021 entry draft with a total of three picks – one in the second, fourth, and fifth rounds. A strong Six Nations team lost in the MSL final to the eventual Mann Cup champion Lakers in 2019. Knowing the depth and strength of the Chiefs’ roster, general manager Duane Jacobs is realistic about the night.
“I don’t anticipate any player that we may take having an immediate impact on our team,” Jacobs said. “It’s all about building for the future.”
With the rare exceptional talented player, the success a team has on draft day cannot always be immediately measured. Part of the fun for lacrosse fans is asking questions such as – “Did the team get the right player at a position of need? Was there a different player who may have been a better fit? Was the player selected worthy of being such a high pick? Why a team makes a particular selection usually relates to their highest priority such as filling a position or need, as much as selecting one player over another.
A prospect may be considered a great pick on the day of the draft, but sometimes, it does not work out in the long run. Sometimes, the true success of any given draft selection is not totally measurable until several seasons later. That aside, player drafts are essential to the viability of teams. A draft creates opportunity for players and provides talent for teams. Along the way there are huge successes, some disappointments, along with surprises. All that to say lacrosse fans - enjoy following the 2021 Major Series Lacrosse Entry Draft.