SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Swarm selected defenseman Andrew Suitor from RIT and Adrian College with the fourth overall pick in Wednesday night’s 2010 NLL Entry Draft. The Swarm also selected Eagan, Minn. native and Academy of Holy Angels alum Ryan Hurley of Cornell University with the 27th overall pick in the third round. In total, Suitor and Hurley were two of six players the Swarm selected.
“We had a gameplan to pick Andrew and it worked out,” General Manager Marty O’Neill said. “He has good command on both offense and defense. That is really going to propel him to be a regular guy in our lineup as a rookie.”
Suitor was viewed as one of the most physical and versatile players available in this year’s draft. With superior athleticism, the native of Orangeville, Ontario had scouts raving about his potential impact as a transition specialist in the NLL.
Some scouts even compared his game to Geoff Snider and Brodie Merrill, but O’Neill views Suitor’s game differently.
“I wouldn’t put him in that category,” O’Neill said. “He’s more of a crasher and a basher. He can make his mark fore-checking just as much as back-checking. That’s a great thing when you can have a guy that is physical upfront and can punish some of the guys that are punishing our guys. He will work his way into an offensive role over time.”
The 5’11” 190 lbs. defender spent the last six seasons with the Orangeville Northmen of the OLA Junior A Lacrosse League. Last season with the Northmen, Suitor recorded 39 points (8g, 31a), and 69 PIM in 22 games. In his career with Orangeville, Suitor has won two Minto Cups and three Ontario titles.
The Swarm held the 13th and 18th overall selections in the second round heading into the night, but traded their 13th selection and a third round pick in 2011 to the Buffalo Bandits for the 15th and 27th overall selections.
Minnesota then used the 15th pick to select Scott Rodgers, a goaltender from the University of Notre Dame. Rodgers helped lead Notre Dame to a berth in the National Championship game against Duke, where he was named the game’s Most Outstanding Player.
Rodgers started in 15 games in 2010 and led the nation in save percentage for the second straight season (.605), earning himself All-American honors. Rodgers was a third-team All-American selection in 2009 and led the nation in goals-against average (6.14) and save percentage (.663). He was also named the Great Western Lacrosse League (GWLL) Player of the Year in 2009.
“Out of all the players selected in the draft, nobody has as much upside as Scott,” O’Neill said.
Five picks later, the Swarm grabbed a talented forward from Dartmouth University, Josh Gillam. According to Paul Tutka of NLLInsider.com, Gillam was a “huge steal for a guy of his talents.” Gillam recorded 46 points (32g, 14a), and 28 ground balls in 38 games over four seasons with the Big Green.
Gillam is also pursuing a hockey career, but if he plays lacrosse, O’Neill knows he has a talented player in his hands.
“Josh just slipped to us,” O’Neill said. “If he decided to put hockey aside, he would have been a Top 5 pick in this draft. That is the kind of talent he has. We don’t know where we are at with him, but if he decides to play lacrosse, we will welcome him with open arms.”
In the third round, Minnesota selected a familiar name to local lacrosse fans as they snagged Eagan, Minn. native Ryan Hurley of Cornell University. A high-school All-American at the Academy of Holy Angels (Richfield, Minn.), Hurley made a name for himself nationally during his four-year career at Cornell, which included leading his team to the 2009 National Championship game against Syracuse.
Last season, Hurley helped Cornell advance to the NCAA Final Four and tallied 60 points (47g, 13a). Hurley finished his collegiate career as one of the Ivy League’s most deadly scorers with 179 career points (140g, 39a) in 60 games.
“We are excited to have Ryan,” O’Neill said. “He has a lot of attributes that you look for in a player that you want to draft – and he just so happens to be from Eagan. He’s got size that will lend itself useful as an indoor player. He might have to change his game to adjust to the physical nature of the indoor game, but he has a hockey background - so he is up for the challenge.”
To round out the draft, the Swarm selected F John McClure (Dowling College) 45th overall in the fifth round and D Steve Waldeck (Stony Brook University) 55th overall in the sixth round.
“I was surprised to see both of these guys available so late in the draft,” O’Neill said. “Nobody thought McClure would still be there in the fifth round. John is mean in the draw circle and he will bring competition to that position. He has lot of experience playing in Senior A in Canada, so it was a no brainier to take him.”
“Waldeck actually played with Jon Sullivan and Scott Rodgers for the Toronto Nationals. We heard a lot about his desire to play the indoor game and we know that he is quite a force in the outdoor game. We were very happy to see him available in the sixth round.”
Minnesota also traded its 54th overall selection to the Boston Blazers for Matt Lyons. The 6’1” 185 lbs. forward has recorded 78 points (34g, 44a), 119 loose balls and 10 PIM in three NLL seasons with Boston and Rochester. Lyons best season came in 2009, when he posted a career-high 52 points (21g, 31a) with the Blazers.
"Matt was a first round pick a few years ago," O'Neill said. "He is a legitimate right-handed guy if he makes the team. He’s a proven NLL player and he is still young. We are looking forward to getting him into camp.”
Overall, O’Neill and the other members of the Swarm front office were very pleased with Wednesday’s draft.
“We all feel like we accomplished a lot this year,” O’Neil said. “We came in expecting Suitor and we left with Suitor and a lot more.”