The Vancouver Stealth were busy at their first National Lacrosse League Entry Draft since moving north to Langley. They made a total of nine selections, one of which they added in a draft-day trade. As has generally been the case the last few years, the Stealth’s success on the floor (reaching three of the last four Champions Cups), meant that their draft slot was late in the proceedings. They started out draft day having to wait through seven picks to see who would be available for them. They’ve been trying for a few years, with mixed results, to address a lack of effective depth on the left side of the offence. When the dust settled, it looked like they had managed to do just that. Make the jump to see their list of draft picks and IL Indoor’s take on how the Stealth did.
8 Cody Bremner
17 Nick Weiss
20 Tyler Digby
22 Kevin Neufeld
26 Brett Dobray
36 Blair Goss
41 Josh Hawkins
45 Brendan Rouse
54 Chris Wardle
The Stealth must have been crossing their fingers that Cody Bremner would make it to the eighth selection. He fits perfectly with what they’ve been looking for. Bremner is a talented lefty forward who has two successful Western Lacrosse Association seasons under his belt. He scored a total of 123 points in 34 games in those two summers with the Nanaimo Timbermen, showing he’s ready to produce in the big time. He’s a solid team guy who should fit in nicely as a complementary player to established stars like Rhys Duch and Lewis Ratcliff.
With Bremner in the fold, the Stealth felt comfortable dealing Mitch Jones to the Bandits in exchange for the 20th selection as well as a fifth rounder in 2015. Jones is an outstanding prospect but is unavailable for the bulk of this season because of his commitment to play hockey at Northern Michigan University. With the pick they aquired, Vancouver added depth and size to the offence, nabbing 6′3”, 225-pound Tyler Digby. The big righty is notable because he’s also a football player of some renown; he’s a tight end who was drafted by the Ottawa Redblacks in the Canadian Football League draft.
Between the two offensive players, the Stealth used the 17th pick to select the player who is a candidate for the steal of the draft. Transition player Nick Weiss is a typical Peterborough Lakers product, combining aggressiveness with a high lacrosse IQ and strong stick skills. While he’ll primarily bring in-your-face defence to the table, Weiss has demonstrated his offensive touch in his first season with Queen’s University, where he is tied for the team scoring lead with 8 goals in his first four games of field lacrosse since minor.
With the 22nd pick, the Stealth mined the Coquitlam Adanacs for another player who brings some feistiness in the defensive zone, and in a very large package. Kevin Neufeld is a 6′5”, 240-pound lefty with a winning pedigree from the Adanacs’ runs to the Minto Cup, including a championship in 2010.
Brett Dobray is a smaller forward (5′11”, 175) with a year of junior eligibility remaining. He had an excellent summer with the Langley Thunder of the BCJALL, potting 46 goals and adding 48 assists for 94 points in his first full Junior A season. Dobray scored at almost the same pace in 2012, putting up a 26/20/46 line in just 12 games.
The Stealth used their last pick in the draft to select a bookend 46-goal scorer, lanky lefty Chris Wardle. Wardle managed the feat with the Victoria Shamrocks.
Between those two scorers, Vancouver used three picks on players who’ll come out the back door. Blair Goss is a sturdy product of the Orangeville Northmen, with whom he won a pair of Minto Cups. Josh Hawkins won a US college national championship with Loyola as a defensive middie with some offensive chops, as you’ll see in the video of a goal he scored in an exhibition game against Team USA. Brendan Rouse spent the 2013 season with the Junior New Westminster Salmonbellies, collecting 38 penalty minutes in 18 games to go with a goal and 6 assists.
All in all, Vancouver’s strong haul of draft selections should push their returning players and fill in any gaps the coaching staff sees that need to be plugged.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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