In past years, the Waterdogs were big movers. Aggressive on trades to chase pro ready talent where they had a need, ala trading for Dillon Ward, Eli Gobrecht, Ryan Brown, and so on. This year, Head Coach/GM Andy Copelan made it clear they didn’t need to do that anymore. Winning a title changes all that. The Waterdogs core is signed through this year AND next year at a minimum. They didn’t come in with many needs. The retirement of Ryan Brown was addressed in free agency with the signing of Jake Carraway. Steve DeNapoli’s retirement means a two way midfield becomes a need. A pole or two makes sense, as does faceoff, as the Waterdogs could be impacted at those spots by the NLL or World Championships. Jake Withers is already on holdout, so faceoff is important. With that in mind, this was a draft for them to make their strengths stronger. The picks:
Selections: Thomas McConvey, Alex Mazzone, Chris Fake, James Reilly
Best Pick: Thomas McConvey
Biggest Risk: Chris Fake
McConvey sliding to 8th is a beautiful gift from north from the border. He’s already been the #1 pick in the NLL draft. His play is not the type that cranks out a ton of highlights. He just does everything at a pro level. He can be a dodger if you need one, he can be a feeder, a finisher, whatever the ask is. The Waterdogs trust his relationship with players like Zach Currier, Ethan Walker, Kieran McArdle, and Connor Kelly. McConvey can do it all from multiple spots on the field, and those are the players that the Waterdogs target. McConvey rates like a player who fits everywhere.
Alex Mazzone and Chris Fake were the next two picks. Mazzone is a great style fit for the Waterdogs. In the mold of a Liam Byrnes, he’s got the ability to play anywhere in the defense. Poles like this are en vogue, coaches are no longer as enamored with poles who only play low or only play LSM, barring a truly special prospect
With the last pick, Waterdogs grabbed James Reilly. The Hoya faceoff specialist is the fourth of the big four at the specialist spot. Jake Withers, the Waterdogs primary faceoff specialist, is on the holdout list and will miss at least a few weeks. Zac Tucci was excellent in his place last year, and will likely be the primary option at the start of camp. But as a depth add, Reilly is outstanding. The “Mr Irrelevant” tag that comes with being picked last won’t apply here. Reilly will push to split time at least, even though he plays with a different style than Tucci and Withers. If anything that improves his case as a change of pace option.
For camp, it’s possible Mikie Schlosser might not be healthy in time for the start of the year. If that’s the case, another downhill midfielder could be a good fit, and as always, more versatile weapons. Quinn McCahon, Alex Simmons, Jack Traynor, Chet Comizion, and Jeff Conner could be worth a call.