Rush ready to face other side of expansion

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:29 AM ET

The Edmonton Rush better get used to it.

The way the National Lacrosse League is growing, expansion drafts are becoming an annual event.

This year's draft takes place on Tuesday as the newest NLL franchise based in Boston gets to pick through the rosters of the other 13 teams.

"I think we're a little deeper this year than we have been in the past," said Rush head coach and general manager Paul Day. "So I think this year we can afford to lose a guy because of that and it won't have too big of an impact on us."

Heading into the expansion draft teams are allowed to protect either 13 players and one goaltender or two goaltenders and 10 players. The Rush protected goalie Curtis Palidwor and 13 others.

Included were Chris Gill and Dan Stroup, both of whom were left unprotected by the Colorado Mammoth in last year's expansion draft and eventually traded to the Rush shortly after being selected by the Chicago Shamrox.

The Rush have also protected newly acquired forwards Mike Accursi and Ben Prepchuk.

"We made the Accursi deal 15 minutes before we had to have our protected list in," Day said. "Because of that we had to make some tough decisions on who to take off the list to make room for Accursi."

Left unprotected were Jamey Bowen, who's expected to retire, and Cam Bergman, expected to take a year off to become a firefighter in B.C.

The Rush can only lose one player in the expansion draft.

"I think Boston is likely looking at Paddy Campbell, who's an experienced goaltender," Day said. "There's always the chance they could take another player off our list and trade him somewhere else. But I think they'll be thinking about (Campbell)."

Campbell began last season as the Rush's starting goalie. The Niagara Falls native was voted the team's MVP in their inaugural season, but struggled early last year and the Rush traded for Palidwor.

Another option for Boston could be Buck Stobart. The six-foot-four, 240-pound defenceman had a solid season for the Rush last year and, at 24, has a bright future ahead of him.

"We had a lot of young defenceman that we would have liked to protect," Day said. "We had to make some tough decisions there.

"We would have liked to protect Bergman, but he's taking the year off to become a firefighter next year and won't be available until 2009."

The Rush are confident with their players heading into the 2008 campaign.

Day has not been hesitant to trade away draft picks for proven veterans to improve the team.

"In the NLL, it appears we're going to be expanding for the next few years," Day said. "Because of that we're not too concerned about having high draft picks.

"It seems that there are only a couple of good high picks anyway. And if we continue to be successful, and get better every year, we won't have great first-round picks and we'll be picking in the later rounds anyway."

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RUSH DRAFT LIST

Protected

Accursi, Mike

Allen, Mac

Daly, Randy

Finck, Dan

Gill, Chris

Glaves, Rory

McElroy, Chris

Palidwor, Curtis

Prepchuk, Ben

Quinlan, Jim

Shannon, AJ

Stroup, Dan

Turner, Andrew

Wulder, Jason

Unprotected

Bowen, Jamey

Bergman, Cam

Hillier, Darren

Howard, Kevin

Jenner, Ted

Melville, Cory

Roy, Jamie

Stobart, Buck

Wagar, Kurtis

Welsh, Daryl

Williams, Rob


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