With the 2022 NLL Entry Draft scheduled to take place Saturday, Sept. 10 in the lacrosse-forward city of Toronto, we’re taking a look at some of this year’s draft details, personnel updates throughout the Mammoth roster and potential areas the organization may look to replenish some depth at during this weekend’s festivities.
While teams are scheduled to send a few representatives to Toronto to make the first in-person selections since the 2019 NLL Entry Draft, war rooms will also be spread throughout North America, with additional coaches, front office members, scouts and beyond plugging into the draft-day equations around the U.S. and Canada alike.
As the draft kicks off at Noon MT on Saturday, NLL fans will be able to follow the league and its, now 15, teams on social media throughout the evening, while ESPN and TSN will plan to broadcast the first round of the draft via their respective digital platforms (ESPN+, TSN.ca, TSN app). Hosted at one of the region’s most memorable locations, The Carlu will welcome each of the league’s teams, along with a select amount NLL fans, to downtown Toronto Saturday afternoon.
Presented via a combination of broadcast talent in Teddy Jenner, Devan Kaney, Pat Gregoire and Ashley Docking, NLL Draft coverage from the team will provide backgrounds on some of the day’s prospects, conduct interviews with club personnel and beyond. The first round (23 selections) will be streamed live, with rounds two through six to be shared in real-time on NLL social accounts, NLL.com and individual corresponding team social accounts and websites. Mammoth fans, as always, can follow the team accounts on Twitter (@mammtothlax), Facebook (@coloradomammoth) and Instagram (@coloradomammoth).
Scheduled to make its first selection with the 15th overall pick, Colorado currently enters the draft with a first-round pick for the first time in years, as the organization hasn’t been afraid to deal high-level assets (picks) in exchange for already-drafted talent (see Connor Robinson).
Colorado’s Current Selections entering the 2022 NLL Entry Draft:
15th overall selection (1st round)
51st overall selection (3rd round)
89th overall selection (5th round)
104th overall selection (6th round)
Having traded away previous first-round picks in the past certainly doesn’t mean the organization left either of its most recent drafts without talent, though. With plenty of high-skill players falling to the second, third round and beyond, Colorado was able to secure a healthy mix of key pieces and depth players in both the 2020 and 2021 NLL Entry Drafts.
While some extra hurdles included with the pandemic-related NCAA eligibility rules may have provided an option for students to return for an extra year or play, it also provides a window of extended timelines as it potentially relates to how or when some of these young kids are able to get a true shot at cracking the 25-man roster. With a loaded roster heading into the team’s eventual 2021-22 NLL Championship season, the Mammoth opted to draft four of five players who planned to return to school during the 2022 school year, including:
Asher Nolting (22nd overall, 2nd round)
Logan Wisnauskas (44th overall, 3rd round)
Keegan Khan (54th overall, 4th round)
Jake Higgins (69th overall, 5th round)
Noah Lebar (83rd overall, 6th round)
While Mammoth fans are likely familiar with rookie defenseman Noah Lebar, who spent his rookie season between the active and practice player lists, the other four completed their NCAA journey with impressive seasons (three of which played together at Maryland this spring, with Nolting being the odd man out, who took care of his own business finishing a legendary collegiate run with High Point University.)
All four of the rookies, yet to log NLL experience yet, also took place in the PLL’s summer action, recording quality playing time as each continues to transition from the NCAA game to the pro level, before eventually getting back into box shape and ideally joining the Mammoth for training camp in November.
Where members of the 2021 and 2022 NLL Entry Draft classes, not to mention any of the free agents signed in the past month, fit into Colorado’s championship-defending lineup is a tough task for the Mammoth brass, but those are decisions for another day. While the club doesn’t necessarily have to execute all four of its picks (see draft-day trades from 2021, 2020 drafts), it’s certainly positioned with some flexibility, having no glaring holes to fill on either side of the ball currently.
With defenseman Erik Turner and forward Sam Firth being taken by the Las Vegas Desert Dogs during the team’s expansion draft (initially selected Brett McIntyre, later traded back to Colorado for the pair of young players) and a mix of veteran free agent deals pending, there are potentially a few spots open for grabs on this year’s team, but with the top-end talent of Nolting and Wisnauskas expected to impress on the front-end, it seems the spots may be closer to depth roles. That said, with defenseman Brett Craig and forwards Ryan Lee and Eli McLaughlin continuing on their injury recovery paths, Mammoth coaches expect another month of competitive training camp action before eventually making some of the hardest decisions of the year.
Regardless of which players are selected and where, Colorado will look to build on its championship-capturing season starting this weekend, with sights set to the future and training camp alike.
Mammoth fans can catch all of this year’s 2022 NLL Entry Draft action on ESPN+, TSN.ca, the TSN app, by following along with Colorado Mammoth social media channels and can stay tuned Sunday for a brief recap of the organization’s new prospects.