Vancouver Canucks fans who have hoped to see the club stockpile draft picks over the years by doing things like trading down will like what the Vancouver Warriors did on Tuesday.
The Warriors dealt the No. 2 overall selection in Saturday’s National Lacrosse League Draft, along with the No. 70 choice and defender Jonathan Gagliardi, to the Las Vegas Desert Dogs for the No. 4 and No. 9 selections and defender Jackson Suboch. Vancouver already had the No. 7 choice via a trade last season with the Philadelphia Wings.
Tuesday’s swap adds another top-10 selection to a Warrior team with needs all over the floor. The Warriors have played a single playoff game in the past nine seasons. They were five wins away from qualifying for the post-season last year, finishing 4-14.
It’s the first deal for new Vancouver general manager and head coach Curt Malawsky, the longtime Calgary Roughnecks bench boss the Canucks hired in July to head up their lacrosse club based out of Rogers Arena. The Canucks bought the Vancouver Stealth in June 2018, moved them downtown from the Langley Events Centre and gave them a new name and look.
How much better a player the No. 2 pick will be than the No. 4 choice is difficult to guess, as there are precious few lacrosse draft pundits. Stephen Stamp, who’s one of them, had righty forward Ryan Sheridan, who played in the Western Lacrosse Association this summer with the Nanaimo Timbermen, at No. 2 and lefty forward Adam Poitras, from Whitby, Ont., at No. 4 in a mock draft he did in June. In a mock draft two weeks ago, Stamp had Poitras at No. 2 and Sheridan at No. 4.
The consensus with Saturday is that lefty forward Dyson Willians, an Oshawa native, is expected to go No. 1 overall. He’s the son of Desert Dogs GM and coach Shawn Williams. It’ll be interesting to see if they move up again from that No. 2 selection they received from Vancouver. The Albany FireWolves have the top choice.
NLL training camps are slated to open Oct. 28-29, and the regular season kicks off Dec. 1-2. A Warriors schedule has not been announced.