With the 2013 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft completed, IL Indoor will take a look at how each team did, starting with the Buffalo Bandits. The Bandits made five picks in the draft.
14 Nick Diachenko
15 Mitch Wilde
38 Eric Penney
47 Kevin Pym
53 Dylan Goddard
While they got some useful players with their picks, Buffalo’s draft was really defined by the two trades they made on draft day. They moved down from Number 10 to Number 15, along with sending a second rounder in 2015 to Calgary, in exchange for righty forward Joe Resetarits. Then they sent the 20th selection and a fifth rounder in 2015 to Vancouver for lefty forward Mitch Jones. And just like that, the concerns about Buffalo’s aging front line were largely eliminated.
Resetarits in particular is a nice pickup because he’s a Buffalo area native who now gets a chance to play at home. He was expendable in Calgary because they are so deep in righty forwards that it was going to be difficult for him to get much floor time, but he can definitely play in the NLL and will be able to contribute right away for the the Bandits. With both Mat Giles and Tracey Kelusky either finished their excellent careers or close to it, Buffalo needed someone to step in now. The addition of Resetarits may allow either Dhane Smith or Mark Steenhuis to come out the back door, where their speed and skill can provide a huge injection of transition threat to the Bandits’ lineup.
Even if Smith and Steenhuis play out the front door, Buffalo has added some speed to the back end with the selections of Nick Diachenko and Mitch Wilde. Diachanko may be the fastest player in the league the day he pulls on a jersey. It will be up to defensive coach Rich Kilgour to harness Diachenko’s raw talent, and it is very raw, but we saw in the MSL playoffs with Brooklin that when the speedster puts his mind to playing defence and not running around willy nilly, he can be an effective contributor.
They also grabbed Wilde, a guy whose stock rose through his solid rookie season in Kitchener-Waterloo and even more at the draft combine. Wilde finished second overall in the fitness and agility testing, then put his physical attributes to good use in the scrimmage when he played strong defence and handled his position well when asked to go up and take some turns on offence.
Looking back at the offensive end, Jones is a perfect fit for the team. He’s a player much in the mold of the Bandits’ Shawn Williams—a pass-first guy who can also shoot well, has tremendous floor vision and through whom an offence can flow. Jones isn’t available for most of this season while he finishes his final year of hockey at Northern Michigan University. That could actually work out very well if Bandits’ captain John Tavares returns for one more season, which seems likely at this point.
Buffalo also did well when they grabbed goalie Penney with the 38th pick. He has been a consistently solid backstop for a bad St. Catharines Athletics team the last couple of years and has shown great resiliency when facing tons of rubber and mounting losses. He gives them a transition plan for when Anthony Cosmo decides to hang up the pads and in the meantime can push Kurtis Wagar for the backup role.
Kevin Pym is a longshot to make the team, as most late-round selections are, but he’s passionate about the game and will keep working to try to reach the big time at some point. Their final selection, Dylan Goddard, is a Junior B all-time scoring star who will be in tough to prove he can play at a higher level. He didn’t have a strong combine and never got much of a chance to play Junior A lacrosse, so there will be plenty of doubts. But with the numbers he put up in junior (368 points over the last three years), he clearly has some talent. If he does turn out to be able to contribute some offence at the pro level, he’ll be a steal with such a late pick.
Overall, a very successful draft for a team that didn’t have a first-round selection. The Bandits managed to address their pressing needs and, between their picks and trades on draft day and the off-season additions of Rory Smith, Andrew Watt and Ryan Benesch, look like a much improved team for 2014 and beyond.Stamp is a TV sports announcer and lacrosse lover whose skill set made him a defender but who always dreamed of being a goal-scorer. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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