2019 NLL Draft Preview
The 2019 NLL Draft kicks off today in Philadelphia, and there are several BCJALL players, both current and former, slated to be picked early and often. Mock drafts have the likes of Ryland Rees (formerly of Poco and Coquitlam) and Victoria's Zach Manns going in the first round, and a boatload of other intriguing players have announced they will forego their college eligibility in order to have a chance to hear their name called by the ever-expanding league.
Here are some current players you can expect to hear called on draft night.
ZACH MANNS - VICTORIA SHAMROCKS
NLL MOCK DRAFT - CALGARY - NO. 9
Stephen Stamp's mock drafts are one of the more accurate snapshots of what can happen in an often unpredictable night. He has Zach Manns, who is coming off a monster season, going in the late 1st round to the Calgary Roughnecks. He wouldn't be the first B.C.-based player to be drafted high by the NLL champions, nor will he be the last. He would join a guy like Ryan Martel as players Calgary has invested a high draft pick on.
Manns was able to score at such an impressive clip against all levels of competition. He narrowly missed on the league's scoring title (by one point to New West's Will Malcom) and finished fifth in Minto Cup scoring with 10 goals and 17 points. The big lefty has all the talent at his disposal and would be a long-term fit in Calgary's O.
CAMERON DUNKERLEY - VICTORIA SHAMROCKS
PROJECTED: HALIFAX THUNDERBIRDS - NO. 31
The reigning NLL MVP would get a great shot at immediate playing time if he lands in the Maritimes. The thing scouts will probably love most about Dunkerley is his ever-improving skillset. He came to Victoria in 2018 as a relatively unpolished goaltender with a great amount of potential. He started to realize that potential early in the '19 season and continued on his upward trajectory. He established himself as arguably the best goalie in the league, and routinely came up huge for the Shamrocks.
Like Manns, Dunk continued his impressive campaign with an excellent Minto Cup. He consistently kept the Shamrocks in close games, even when it seemed like Victoria was on the brink of being eliminated. He came up huge against the Coquitlam Adanacs, dispatching the reigning Minto champions with a thrilling performance.
NATE FACCIN - COQUITLAM ADANACS
RANKING: NO. 36
Faccin is declaring for the draft somewhat earlier than most goalies, but his situation reminds me of Christian Del Bianco's a bit. He has all the talent in the world and was given the starter reigns and ran with it all the way to being named the league's top goalie. Coming out early will allow him to get valuable reps against the best shooters in the world and help develop his game even further. A team would be making a longer-term investment in Faccin, but don't be surprised if he turns out to be a top ten goalie in the NLL in the not-too-distant future.
KYLE DAWSON - NANAIMO TIMBERMEN
RANKING: NO. 38
Here's Stamper on Dawson: Works well in a system and made a reasonably successful move from Wallaceburg Jr B to Nanaimo Jr A, following up his 53-goal tour de force in 2018 with a solid 25-goal, 22-assist performance for Nanaimo this summer before adding another 10 goals in six playoff games. Dawson is a natural leader, prompting Canada to name him an alternate captain at the 2018 World Juniors in Saskatoon.
Dawson, named the BCJALL's Most Sportsmanlike Player, will be a fit for a number of teams thanks to his adaptability and versatility playing a number of roles. Players of his ilk are few and far between, so it's likely he can catch on somewhere, even if it's on a Practice Squad roster to start.
BRENDAN SZABO - DELTA ISLANDERS
RANKING: NO. 40
An unheralded defender for the Delta Islanders, Szabo represents a bit of a new guard in the NLL. Some teams will place a higher priority on athleticism and speed to add to their transition game, and Szabo has a ton of both. And despite his size, he's still among one of the better defenders in the league.
HAIDEN DICKSON - COQUITLAM ADANACS
RANKING: NO. 48
Dickson has proven for two years now that he can be a prolific scorer in the BCJALL, the question will be if he can continue that trend when he plays stronger competition on a game-to-game basis. He hit the 50-goal plateau in 2019, so the ability is there.
RYAN JONES - LANGLEY THUNDER
RANKING: NO. 50
Jones may not have had the impact some were expecting when he was shipped from Delta to Langley early in the season. But he is a do-it-all player who can contribute in a number of facets. He has championship pedigree and scored more than a goal per game over his BCJALL career. He could be an underrated pickup for a team in the later rounds.