By: Lance Crafton, Beat Writer Chesapeake Bayhawks
On Wednesday, December 16, 2015 at 2pm(EST), the Major League Lacrosse (MLL) had their Supplemental Draft to replenish team numbers after the expansion draft on November 18, 2015. All teams had 12 protected players going into the expansion draft with the rest of their rosters going into the players’ pool to be up for grabs for the new Atlanta Blaze franchise. All teams pulled back their unprotected players to their roster after the Blaze made their picks. This left teams’ depth charts shallow which brings us to the Supplemental Draft trying to get teams back to 35 players per team.
The Chesapeake Bayhawks came into the supplemental draft knowing exactly what they wanted to fill their nest and in true fashion, I believe had the most productive draft, and with the biggest trade of the day. The ‘Hawks picked 16 players in the draft with five of the picks getting back players from the pool that were on the Bayhawks’ roster last season and then one shocking trade making it 17 players suiting up in the navy blue, green, and grey jerseys for 2016.
The break down for the supplemental draft brings Chesapeake depth at midfield with the emphasis of their picks being at that position. A total of 9 middies (one a player returning to the roster from last year); one attackman (returning from last year); four defenseman (two returning to the squad from last season); one goalie (last year’s roster player); one returning FOGO; and the big trade for one FOGO.
The first player to earn his Bayhawks wings in the draft was Notre Dame Fighting Irish midfielder, Nick Ossello. Chesapeake’s first pick was taken after trading up to Charlotte to get him in the first round and the second overall pick. Coach Brian Reese said of their first choice, “Nick Ossello is a do-it-all type of midfielder – he plays offense, defense and can faceoff.” He continued by adding, “Nick is a phenomenal athlete, one of the finest available in the player pool, and we feel he can help the Bayhawks”. Nick was picked by the Denver Outlaws in the 2015 MLL Collegiate Draft but declined playing in the MLL so he could continue wearing the gold as a fifth year senior playing football for the Irish.
The five returning squad members to the nest were defenseman Kyle Sweeney (Georgetown), defenseman Callum Robinson (Stevenson), goalie Kip Turner (UVA) as well as players from the practice squad who were not active last season, midfielder Tony Rossi (Stevenson) and attackman Alex Love (Hobart).
Kyle Sweeney is an All-Star 12 year veteran in the MLL and was acquired from the New York Lizards last season in a trade for the 3rd round draft pick in the 2016 Collegiate Draft and veteran defenseman Brian Spallina (also current record holder of most penalty minutes in the MLL). “Kyle is a proven veteran who played well last season. We are very happy to get Kyle back on the roster”, Coach Reese said. His stats show the caliber of player he is with 143 games played; 41 goals; 25 assists; 65 shots on goal; and 430 ground balls.
The massive defenseman from “down under”, Callum Robinson, is back in the nest from Perth, Australia with Coach Brian Reese stating, “Callum moved back to Australia and that is one of the reasons we didn’t protect him… however, we have since learned that Callum plans to move back to the states and wants to play pro lacrosse this coming season. He’s a big, physical kid with a lot of promise.” Big is an understatement! At 6-foot-5 and 248 pounds, the “Can-Do Kangaroo” has a wingspan on him that can probably cover two players at once in a man down situation. His other accolades include representing Team Australia in the 2014 World Games and probably winning a flow contest somewhere.
Goalie Kip Turner, is out of the pool and back with the ‘Hawks again after being the starter for the Bayhawks for two of their Steinfeld Cup Champion teams and 2010 MLL goalie of the year. He has 878 saves in his MLL career in between the posts. Kip missed last season with a broken thumb.
The gem that stole the show for the draft is Chesapeake’s trade of its 4th round pick for A-Train! The Bayhawks struggled at the X and have turned that around in one swift trade. Anthony Kelly holds the MLL record for most face-offs at 3,044; and most wins at 1,568. His dominance will help get the Bayhawks’ elite offense the ball to do what they do best and A-Train is no stranger to getting to the back of the net with 25 goals and 2 two point goals. Not only with face-offs, but the newest ‘Hawk is like a real-life version of Hungry Hungry Hippos with 481 ground balls devoured!
Coach Reese summed up the draft by saying, “We are very happy with the players we were able to add through the Supplemental Draft. We wanted to load up on midfielders and defensemen and I think we got some good ones. A lot of the guys we had at the top of our wish list were available when we picked.”
Here’s how it all went down…
1st round (second overall pick) – Nick Ossello, midfielder
2nd round (15th overall pick) – Kyle Sweeney, defenseman
3rd round (20th overall pick) – Callum Robinson, defenseman
4th round – Traded pick to Denver Outlaws for Anthony Kelly, FOGO
5th round (40th overall pick) – Joe McCallion, midfielder
6th round (49th overall pick) – Matt Bertrams, midfielder
7th round (58th overall pick) – Rob Guida, midfielder
8th round (67th overall pick) – Kip Turner, goalkeeper
9th round (76th overall pick) – Andrew Casimir, defenseman
10th round (85th overall pick) – Alex Love, attackman & (86th overall pick) – Ed Castronova, midfielder
11th round (94th overall pick) – Tony Rossi, midfielder
12th round (103rd overall pick) – Ray Megill, defenseman
13th round (111th overall pick) – Ryan Belka, midfielder
14th round (118th overall pick) – Mike O’Neil, midfielder
15th round (123rd overall pick) – Joe Lustgarten, midfielder
16th round (128th overall pick) – Matt Dolente, FOGO
Lance Crafton, Beat Writer Chesapeake Bayhawks
Lacrosse is Awesome