Rush crafty at draft

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

The 2010 NLL Draft turned out to be a breeze for the Edmonton Rush.

Despite not having a selection until the third round due to previous transactions, Rush general manager and head coach Derek Keenan made the most of the situation.

“We had a good day, considering it wasn’t a very deep draft,” said the second-year Rush head coach, who led the club to its first-ever post-season play in 2009. “We got three of the guys we wanted and then we got a bonus.”

With their first pick (third round, 28th overall), the Rush took transition player John Lafontaine, captain of the Ontario Junior A League’s Whitby Warriors — the team Keenan coaches in the off-season.

Also picking 29th overall, the Rush took Alexander Kedoh Hill, a forward from Six Nations. The 20-year-old renounced his final year of junior A to get drafted early.

“The final list for that didn’t come out until last Tuesday,” Keenan said. “We saw him on there and he had 93 points this summer in junior A and killed my junior A team in the playoffs. He was a steal in the third round.”

But not as big a heist as the Rush’s fifth-round selection Jarrett Toll, a Maple Ridge, B.C., native who played with the New Westminster Salmonbellies.

“He’s the absolute steal in the draft because in a lot of teams’ ratings, he was the best defensive transition guy in British Columbia Junior Lacross this year,” Keenan said. “But he’s a hockey guy.”

A former Tri-City Americans blue-liner, Toll is playing with the U of A Golden Bears in his rookie CIS season.

“So he could only really play (lacrosse) in one place conveniently,” said Keenan. “We spoke to him before the draft, he had cleared it with his hockey coach that it wasn’t going to hurt his eligibility and he would be available.”

Toll is currently playing with the Senior A Salmonbellies after being called up to play for the Mann Cup.

“We didn’t really start talking about him until the last week, until we found out he was going to the U of A,” Keenan said. “We kind of knew he was going to be available, too, because teams were going to stay away from him thinking he couldn’t play.

“He’s a really gritty kid with some skill and can defend very well.”

Whitby teammate Cameron Holding (fourth round, 38th overall) and Salmonbellies teammate Eric Lewthwaite (sixth round, 58th overall) rounded out the Rush selections.

Pending outstanding contract discussions, the Rush will only be losing defender Bruce Alexander off of last season’s roster to retirement.

“Aside from that, we’re going to try to sign everybody,” said Keenan. “And then we’re going to have a competitive camp. There’s going to be jobs on the line. Right now we’ve got about 28 guys on our roster.”

The Rush also acquired former Orlando Titans players Bill Greer and Matt Alrich in the dispersal draft earlier this year.

“Orlando was a good team with a good roster,” Keenan said. “We got better.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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