Vancouver Stealth make a statement on draft day

Langley Events Centre, a 5500 seat arena which is home to the Vancouver Stealth. Photo: Trevor Beggs

Langley Events Centre, a 5500 seat arena which is home to the Vancouver Stealth. Photo: Trevor Beggs

Jim Benning wasn’t the only Vancouver general manager to make a big splash on draft day.

Doug Locker, general manager of Vancouver Stealth, revamped the roster during the Sept. 22 National Lacrosse League draft by making multiple trades and adding four players to the roster.

Leading up to the draft, he traded the second and 11th overall selections, along with 2015 and 2017 first rounders to the Rochester Knighthawks for forward Jordan Powless, 21, and Joel McCready, 26, along with the ninth and 23rd picks in Monday’s draft.

Powless is the key player for the Stealth. For the last three years, he has played on a deep Rochester team that has won the league title three years in a row. He already has 78 goals and 144 points in 50 career regular season games, despite the fact he is two years younger than the player the Stealth likely would have drafted with the second overall pick, Jeremy Noble. Although he finished fourth on Rochester in scoring last season, the 21-year-old phenom has a chance to breakout with the Stealth, and play a more prominent role.

Kevin Berar, media relations coordinator at the Langley Events Centre and writer for the Vancouver Stealth website, believes that the addition of Powless will benefit Rhys Duch, the top Stealth scorer from last season.

“It will be nice to see Duch get some help on the left side with Powless being a lefty. If him and Duch have good chemistry he will be fun to watch and it will be tough for opposing teams to stop those two. He will have a chance to flourish here,” Berar said.

The offence will also benefit from the addition of Joel McCready. McCready had a breakout season last year, with 29 points in 10 games. His personal best before last season was 15 PTS in 15 GP.

Locker: It’s a massive deal for our franchise and a massive deal for lacrosse in Vancouver.

Vancouver had the worst goal differential in the NLL last season. They allowed 52 more goals than they scored over the 18-game schedule, highlighting issues on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Along with the additions of Powless and McCready to help the offence, Locker made some changes to the defence as well.

During the draft, Locker traded sophomore defender Nick Weiss, 22, the ninth overall pick, a second round pick in 2015, and a first round pick in 2018, for veteran defenceman Rory Smith, 27, goaltending prospect Eric Penney, 21, and the 12th overall selection in 2014.

Smith comes in with a reputation for being one of the toughest guys to play against in the NLL.

Berar voiced a similar opinion on Smith. “He is known for his grittiness and his toughness, and he’s going to change his game from being a fighter to being more of a solid defender. The Stealth lost a couple of key defenders in the offseason so it’s nice to have someone who is experienced like Rory on the team.”

Locker continued to bolster the defence by selecting Conrad Chapman 12th overall with the Stealth’s first pick in the draft.

“He’s a pretty good transition player, big presence on the floor at 6’7, 230 lb. He’ll be ready to go,” said Berar.

The Stealth floundered during their inaugural season, finishing tied for worst in the league with a 4-14 record. They also only averaged attendance of 3,590 people per game at the 5,500-seat Langley Events Center. There was a sense that something had to be done in order to bring more people next year.

“They needed to do something to try and generate a little more interest, and generate some spark. When you get someone who is a Johnny Powless, a Joel McCready or a Rory Smith, three guys who are known in the NLL, who each bring something different to the team, I think that’s going to generate some interest,” said Berar.

Locker voiced his excitement about the deal for Powless on Wednesday during an interview on TSN 1040.

“It’s a massive deal for our franchise and a massive deal for lacrosse in Vancouver.”

Trevor Beggs

A third year Journalism student, taught by some stellar professors at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Currently covering the Vancouver Canucks for The Hockey Writers.

Be first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.