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Chris Gray dealt to Redwoods in blockbuster PLL trade

Not more than a few hours after the official date of the PLL draft was announced, a trade was made that saw the order get shuffled. The terms of the deal:

New York Atlas receive: 5th overall pick in the 2024 draft

California Redwoods receive: Chris Gray, 18th overall pick in the 2024 draft

Let’s take a look at both sides of the coin.

For Atlas, they already hold the number two pick. Trading Gray signals they are getting ready to use that pick on one of the big three attackmen that will be available, be it Brennan O’Neill, Connor Shellenberger, or Pat Kavanagh. By dealing Gray, they prevent a possible logjam at the spot. Dealing Gray also signals it’s possibly a righty on the radar, and Shellenberger is their guy. At the 5th spot they can get another elite player at basically any position on the field. They could draft a defender there, but picking another defenseman a year after they picked one first and third overall would be tough to swallow for Atlas fans. It feels more correct to play Makar at his natural position down low. Atlas now pick 2nd, 5th, and 10th overall, in a draft that everyone considers to be multiple rounds deep. The question this creates is, what is the Atlas plan at five now? To me, it’s not immediately clear.

For Redwoods, they acquire the future. Rob Pannell is, while still productive, in his career twilight. The day he hangs it up, Chris Gray steps into the spot and they don’t miss a beat. In the meantime, they can pair two dynamic dodgers and feeders at attack, and get another high IQ weapon for their offensive rebuild this year. The Woods won’t make a pick in the draft now until they 13th pick, which is the fifth spot in round two. The draft is loaded with talent, and there will be first round type players available in round two, and legit prospects in round three. The Redwoods now pick three times between pick 13 and pick 21. It’s been a big shake up for the Woods this offseason, this move is right on par with how things have gone. For the California fans who must were nervous about the offensive departures, they can feel good that a proven PLL star is joining the club, and he’s only 24 years old. Essentially, the Redwoods just took Chris Gray 5th overall and now have three mid round picks in a very deep draft.

Three scenarios to think about, ranging from “OK that seems normal” to “Heading to the roulette table and putting my kids college fund on black”:

The Atlas are just making room. Shellenberger gets to reunite with Xander Dickson, slot seamlessly into spot opened by Chris Gray, and the Atlas can then set to drafting best available or looking to add depth to their offense. They could even take another top tier attackman at five, as Eric Law will be 33 this year.

The Atlas traded up for a goalie. Atlas have two goalies rostered right now in Drake Porter and Tim Troutner, and want to make sure they draft the best goalie on the board in Liam Entenmann. They don’t trust that he’ll make it past Denver at pick number nine, or anyone else, so they move up into the first round, even if it’s probably a reach, to make sure they get their man in goal.

The Atlas aren’t done. They are actually just amassing assets because they are determined to land Brennan O’Neill and know they need the first overall pick to do it. In moves reminiscent of Mike Ditka trading the entire Saints draft to pick Ricky Williams in 1999, the Atlas ship all their first round picks to Denver for 1st overall, take Brennan O’Neill, and bet the ranch on him being lacrosse Lebron James. It also keeps O’Neill in his home NY market.

We won’t be able to judge who “won” the trade for quite a while, although reactions on draft day at pick number five will surely be off the wall. Hot stove PLL offseason continues.


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