Rock NLL Draft Outlook
Toronto - The 2012 NLL Draft will take place on Monday night at 7pm at the Westin Harbour Castle in downtown Toronto. The NLL Draft is open to the public and there is no charge for admission. Fans can also watch the entire draft online on the NLL Network at NLL.com.
You’ll have to excuse the Rock brass if they are a little late to the party on Monday as Toronto will not make a selection until the second round. The 14th overall selection will be the first of the evening for the Rock and for the third consecutive draft, the Rock will not have a first round pick. It’s something Toronto GM Terry Sanderson isn’t worried about.
“We’re confident with what we have,” said Sanderson regarding their collection of picks in Monday’s draft. “It’s always nice to get young guys into your lineup but with the moves we’ve made previously to give ourselves a strong lineup and bring in some of the vets we have, it’s the price you pay. Sooner or later we’ll have to replenish in some areas with younger guys and when the time comes we’ll do it. We put three young guys into our lineup last season and they all performed well.”
For the record, every player selected in each of the first two rounds of the 2011 NLL Draft saw action in a 2012 NLL regular season contest. That list includes Jesse Gamble, the Rock’s first pick in the 2011 NLL Entry Draft, who was selected in the second round with the 17th overall pick. The speedy transition player dressed for 11 games in 2012 and quickly made the best of his opportunity.
“I’m not too sure there’s too many guys that can come in and do what Jesse did for us as a rookie,” explained Sanderson. “He’s a young guy but he played way above our expectations. Being the quality kid that he is, we expect him to match what he did last year and also improve in other areas. If we can be as fortunate to find a player like him in this year’s draft we would be more than happy.”
The Rock currently hold 7 selections for Monday’s NLL Entry Draft with two each in rounds two and three and one each in rounds four through six.
“There’s still a chance we will move up,” said Sanderson. “However, we would only move up if we felt our guy wasn’t going to be there when we pick at number 14. We feel very confident that the guy we’re after will be there.”
The Edmonton Rush hold the first overall selection and earlier this week removed what little drama there was surrounding the pick when the team announced they will be selecting Mark Matthews. Matthews is a Whitby, ON native and won a Minto Cup Canadian Junior A championship with the Whitby Warriors in 2011. His coach with the Warriors during that national title run was none other than current Rush bench boss Derek Keenan.
A day prior to the NLL Entry Draft, the league Combine will be held on Sunday, September 30 for draft-eligible players and non-roster free agents at the new Toronto Rock Training & Practice Facility in Oakville, Ontario. The event is closed to the public.