Canada Alumni Entering 2020 NLL Draft
Leading National Lacrosse League (NLL) Draft analyst, Inside Lacrosse contributor, and play-by-play voice of the IIJL World Junior Lacrosse Championship, Stephen Stamp has been providing his annual breakdown of top prospects leading up to the 2020 NLL Draft.
This years NLL Draft is unique due to the global pandemic resulting in NCAA student-athletes being provided a fifth-year of eligibility. Those fifth-year players will be draft eligible and will be returning to collegiate play with their rights maintained by the NLL team that selects them in this years draft.
Many of the top prospects have played for Canada on the global stage. Below is a breakdown of those top prospects who have represented Canada at the IIJL World Junior Lacrosse Championship and other international events. Players have been divided into position, Forward, Transition, Defence, and Goaltender. Also included is the player's dominant hand and the most recent team(s) they have played on; either junior, senior, or collegiate.
TYE ARGENT, Left, Hamilton Bengals (OJBLL), Burlington Chiefs (OJALL), Six Nations Snipers (ALL). Stephen Stamp on Tye Argent. "[He] is a smaller player (5'11", 160lbs), which always makes earning a spot at the higher levels of the game challenging, but he's willing to go inside and do the dirty work to play a depth role as needed. Argent scored 39 Goals and 96 Points in Jr B in 2019 but put up only 9 Points (including 5 Goals) in seven games with Jr A Burlington. A season in the ALL with Six Nations bolsters his candidacy for the draft; Argent was a core member of the Snipers offence, finishing second on the team with 29 points in 11 games and showed he can handle suiting up against men, even at his size. He's another player who could have really benefitted from a 2020 summer season, in which he was expected to play a key role for Burlington." Argent ranks #49 in Stephen Stamp's Top Prospects List on IL Indoor.
TANNER BUCK, Left, Orangeville Northmen (OJALL), Toronto Monarchs (ALL). Stephen Stamp on Tanner Buck. "[He] has done a lot of winning over the last few years. His run of championships started with a Founders Cup in 2017, followed by a gold medal at the 2018 World Juniors (at which he was named to the All-World team), and culminated in a Minto Cup title in 2019. Unlike many of his draft class mates, Buck also got to play some high level lacrosse in 2020. He suited up with the Toronto Monarchs in the Arena Lacrosse League and wound up leading the team in scoring with 31 Goals and 26 Assists for 57 Points in only 12 Games, placing him 6th overall in the league scoring race. Buck has great hands, excellent vision, a high lacrosse IQ and a knack for getting into the dirty areas to come away with loose balls, despite his lack of size. He will be well suited to stepping into a complementary role and doing whatever a team asks of him." Buck ranks #27 in Stephen Stamp's Top Prospects List on IL Indoor.
SAM LECLAIR, Right, St. Catharines Spartans (OJBLL), St. Catharines Athletics (OJALL), Brock University (CUFLA). Canada Head Coach Jeff Dowling on Sam LeClair. "I’ve coached against Sam LeClair the last four years of Junior B with the Spartans as well as watching him extensively in Junior A with the Athletics. Hr was always one of the guys that we try to match up with our top defenders because he was quick, strong and was a threat to score. After coaching him with Canada at the 2019 World Junior, I saw a lot more to his game. He was dynamic for us, a threat every time he had the ball. He used his instincts and athleticism to score some highlight reel goals, but he also found teammates when they were in better scoring areas as well. Needless to say, I liked coaching him a lot more than coaching against him!" Canada General Manager Chris Fox on Sam LeClair. "[He] has an amazing ability to manipulate goalies with his stick, a drop of the shoulder, or a twitch of the wrist. Sam proved at the 2019 World Juniors that he is an 'A' talent, given the opportunity his game will translate will into the NLL."
JEFF TEAT, Left, Brampton Excelsiors (OJALL), Brampton Excelsiors (MSL), Cornell University (NCAA DI). Stephen Stamp on Jeff Teat. "Teat is a generational player. While teams may have to think about whether they want to wait a year for other players who are going back to college —like Teat, who will play at Cornell in 2021, assuming there is a college season next year— that won't be a factor with Teat. He is the clear choice whether New York hangs on to the pick or is blown away by a trade offer that they just can't refuse, which is highly unlikely. He's well worth the wait." Teat ranks #1 in Stephen Stamp's Top Prospects List on IL Indoor.
HUNTER AGGUS, Right, Hamilton Bengals (OJBLL), Paris RiverWolves (ALL). Stephen Stamp on Hunter Aggus. "[He] is a risk/reward type player. He's big and strong, can play a robust game and has the speed and stick skills to be dangerous in transition. Aggus put up 35 goals in the last two Jr B seasons with the Bengals and got into a handful of games with the Jr A Burlington Chiefs. He also played for Canada at the World Juniors in 2018 and has spent the last two winters with Paris in the ALL; in both situations he showed he can be one of the better players on the floor. He also tends to do make at least one glaringly poor decision per game. The latter tendency must have overshadowed his talent for NLL evaluators as he was passed over after declaring early for last year's draft. I'm not going to slam Aggus too much for making mistakes; we all make them and I know I would reconsider some of my decisions when I was his age if given the chance. With solid coaching and some maturation, he could develop into a solid pro player." Aggus ranks #48 in Stephen Stamp's Top Prospects List on IL Indoor.
MATHIEU BOISSONNEAULT, Left, Whitby Warriors (OJALL), Canisius University (NCAA DI). Stephen Stamp on Mathieu Boissonneault. "With almost half of the top 20 of my prospects list consisting of defenders, Boissonneault is at the bottom of the group. It is a tightly bunched group of prospects, though, and any given evaluator could have him higher than this. Boissonneault has always had to overcome his size, standing at just 5-7, but it really hasn't stood in his way. I've been watching Boissonneault play since he was in his mid-teens and attending the All-Canada Games recruiting tournament; I'm not sure I've ever seen an opponent that was too big or strong for him to compete with. He's exceptionally strong, he's quick, and he's skilled enough to have scored 51 points in his final two seasons of junior. It would have been nice for him to get a chance this summer to line up against men and prove he can handle that step up in competition, but I have little doubt about his ability to hold his own." Boissonneault ranks #20 in Stephen Stamp's Top Prospects List on IL Indoor.
WYATT HAUX, Right, Saskatchewan SWAT (RMJALL). Stephen Stamp on Wyatt Haux "[He] played diverse roles for the SWAT and coach Kyle Wongstedt last summer. He is primarily a defender, where he uses his size and naturally nasty on-floor disposition to make life difficult for opposing offences. The SWAT were lacking some size and grit on offence in 2019, so Haux would often run out the front door as a willing and eager pick setter and space opener. He's got pretty good hands, too, although I would tend to consider him a defender who can join the rush at times rather than a transition player. It's generally hard to project how RMLL players will translate to the pros because they just don't have the luxury of as much or as high-caliber competition as their Ontario and British Columbia counterparts. You don't have to search far, though, to see that the prairies are producing players who are ready for the NLL. Just go back to last year, when the Colorado Mammoth took Brett Craig 26th and Dylan Kinnear 39th and both played substantial roles as rookies. Haux, yalong with Harrison Matsuoka (returning to Stony Brook but a possible first-rounder this year), are poised to continue that tendency. Haux also took advantage of opportunities to broaden his horizons and get some experience beyond his regular league, playing for Canada at the 2018 and 2019 World Juniors (the former as a hometown boy for the Saskatoon tournament) and at the '19 European Box Invitational in Prague." Haux ranks #38 in Stephen Stamp's Top Prospects Liston IL Indoor.
LASZLO HENNING, Right, Calgary Mountaineers (RMJALL), Burnaby Lakers (WLA). Canada General Manager Chris Fox on Laszlo Henning. "[He] played in the inaugural World Juniors in 2015, as part of the Canada West team that surprised everyone by winning gold. Laszlo's leadership was very apparent, even at that age in 2015. He was an anchor for us on defence and a very calming presence that lead by example. Even more so now, he has the physical attributes that will allow him to be successful in the NLL."
ORIALE MANDEVILLE, Left, Barrie Lakeshores (OJALL). Stephen Stamp on Oriale Mandeville. "It's tough to shine for draft evaluators when you spend three years with a team that wins a total of five games over that time. Mandeville was one of the few bright spots for the Lakeshores in their final summer before being contracted last off-season. He's got the wheels to clear the defensive zone in a heartbeat and is a sound decision maker. Mandeville played for Canada's side at the European Box Lacrosse Invitational in Prague last April and at the World Juniors in Mississauga last August, where he showed that he's got more than just speed by displaying some defensive tenacity." Mandeville ranks #47 on Stephen Stamp's Top Prospects on IL Indoor.
NASH MOOG, Right, Port Coquitlam Saints (BCJALL). Canada General Manager Chris Fox on Nash Moog. "At a solid 6'0" and 180lbs, Nash is a tremendous athlete with exceptional footwork. As one of the bright spots on a lacklustre 2019 BCJALL season for the PoCo Saints, Nash has developed great leadership qualities that will enable him to be successful moving into the next phase of his career - including any opportunity to secure a roster spot in the NLL."
ETHAN RIGGS, Left, Hamilton Bengals (OJBLL), Burlington Chiefs (OJALL). Stephen Stamp on Ethan Riggs. "One of the last entrants in the draft, Riggs is a big, 6'3", 240lbs, bruising defender with just enough of a nasty streak to make coaches happy and opponents unhappy. Riggs wasn't highly touted coming out of midget, but he started in Jr C and steadily worked his way up to being a Jr A stalwart for the Chiefs. He's still a bit raw and he won't be asked to handle the ball much, but Riggs is improving rapidly and is probably ready to ease his way into a pro lineup already. At just 20 years old, and with his size, Riggs' has huge potential." Riggs ranks #22 in Stephen Stamp's Top Prospects List on IL Indoor.
BRENDAN SZABO, Left, Delta Islanders (BCJALL). Stephen Stamp on Brendan Szabo. "[His] most noticeable asset is his speed. He's also a solid defender. A summer season would have been helpful for him to showcase himself, but Szabo told me that he was spending his time off working to get bigger and stronger, more prepared to handle the challenges he'll face as he steps up to senior and hopefully pro lacrosse. He was a valuable contributor for Ireland at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship last fall in Langley, about 20 minutes from his house. He also represented Canada at a pair of World Juniors. You can read more about his adventures on both teams here." Szabo ranks #36 in Stephen Stamp's Top Prospects List on IL Indoor.
JORDAN TROTTIER, Left, Nepean Knights (OJBLL), Peterborough Lakers (OJALL), New Westminster Salmonbellies (BCJALL). Stephen Stamp on Jordan Trottier. "[He] bounced around a bit, starting with the Jr B Nepean Knights, spending a year with the Jr A Peterborough Lakers, returning to Nepean for a year, then heading to New Westminster Jr A for his final season of junior. He's a big, 6'4", 215lbs, and fairly physical defender with decent hands and solid lacrosse instincts. Whoever coaches him in the NLL will probably want him to be a bit meaner, but he is no shrinking violet. Trottier is the kind of steady defender that may go largely unnoticed but that coaches feel confident rolling out game after game knowing that he'll do his job and help the team." Trottier ranks #32 in Stephen Stamp's Top Prospects List on IL Indoor.
BRODY HARRIS, Right, Delta Islanders & Victoria Shamrocks (BCJALL). Stephen Stamp on Brody Harris. "[He] was with the cellar-dwelling Islanders last summer, but he got a chance to show how good he can be with Canada at the 2018 World Juniors and the 2019 E-Box. At the former, he was the starter in the Gold Medal game (ahead of fellow 2020 prospect Laine Hruska) and stopped 85.5% of the shots he faced from a talented Iroquois team to help the red and white earn the gold medal and pick up tournament All-World Goaltender honours in the process. He's smaller and athletic, a style which can create a gradual adaptation process to the pro game, but his success playing in the bigger nets with smaller sticks at World Juniors and E-Box show that he is already taking strides along that path." Harris ranks #45 in Stephen Stamp's Top Prospects List on IL Indoor.
LAINE HRUSKA, Right, Saskatchewan SWAT (RMJALL), Whitby Steelhawks (ALL). Stephen Stamp on Laine Hruska. "The Saskatchewan Rush have been selecting graduating Sask juniors since the team moved to Saskatoon. It's a nice gesture for the players and it helps to develop the game in the province. Some had a better chance of actually making the NLL than others; I thought defender Mike Kaminski was a legitimate prospect, and he could still get there. This year marks a big step for Saskatchewan lacrosse, though. Neither Wyatt Haux nor Laine Hruska is likely to be picked by the Rush; the team doesn't have a second-round pick and neither player is likely to be available when the Rush go back on the clock at 43rd overall [Update: Saskatchewan acquired a second rounder, 26th overall, along with a 2021 first, from Colorado for Connor Robinson]. The trend of Saskatchewan players earning real NLL looks should continue, too: keep your eyes out for the likes of defenders Keagan White and Quinn Ingalls in the next few years. Hruska was the RMJALL rookie of the year in 2018 and First-Team All-Star Goaltender in 2019, then went and stayed with relatives in Ontario last winter so he could play in the Arena Lacrosse League with the Whitby Steelhawks, where he posted the best numbers in the league. He was going to spend the summer with the St. Catharines Athletics (OJALL), where he would probably have gotten the chance to be a starter in the Minto Cup (St Kitts was to host) after twice being picked up by RMJALL teams to provide backup depth for the tournament. That would have been a great experience, but he gain substantial value from getting to adjust to NLL size nets and goalie sticks in his two trips to the World Juniors for Canada and his season in the ALL." Hruska ranks #26 on Stephen Stamp's Top Prospects List on IL Indoor.
ABOUT NATIONAL LACROSSE LEAGUE
Founded in 1986, the National Lacrosse League (NLL) is the longest-running and most successful professional lacrosse league, ranking third in average attendance for pro indoor sports behind only the NHL and NBA. The League is currently comprised of 14 franchises across the United States and Canada: Buffalo Bandits, Calgary Roughnecks, Colorado Mammoth, Fort Worth (to begin play in 2021-22), Georgia Swarm, Halifax Thunderbirds, New England Black Wolves, New York Riptide, Philadelphia Wings, Rochester Knighthawks, San Diego Seals, Saskatchewan Rush, Toronto Rock, and Vancouver Warriors. For more information, visit NLL.com and find the NLL on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.