Rush make do with one at NLL draft

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:51 PM ET

EDMONTON - He was so busy over the summer that Derek Keenan might as well have put his feet up at this week’s NLL draft.

After all, the Edmonton Rush head coach and general manager traded away all but one selection in Wednesday’s draft in Toronto.

He used it to select Alberta’s own Jesse Fehr, a product of Duke University, in the third round (20th overall).

“We had one pick, so it was different, for sure,” said Keenan, whose scouts might have been left wondering why they did all that work over the past year. “We went into that draft with one pick at No. 20 and kind of got the guy we wanted, to be honest.

“He’s an Alberta guy. Very bright, a Harvard and Duke guy. He played Senior B in Edmonton this summer.”

The left-shot transition player has shown he can play both ends of the floor and Keenan expects his presence will push his veterans at the position.

Of course, there is one noticeable absence at transition on the Rush roster this season.

In the biggest trade in Rush history last month — 23 years to the day the Oilers dealt Wayne Gretzky to L.A. — the Rush traded team captain Brodie Merrill — along with Mike McLellan, Dean Hill and a fourth-round selection in Wednesday’s draft — to the Philadephia Wings. In return, Edmonton got Athan Iannucci, Brodie McDonald, Alex Turner and a first-round selection in each of the next three years.

The moves were part of a shake-up after the Rush fell well short of expectations — and the playoffs — last season, just one year removed from being an overtime goal away from hosting the final.

But the Merrill move was just one in a busy summer that also saw the Rush acquire defenders Kyle Rubisch and Ryan Dilks in the dispersal draft of the Boston Blazers franchise.

Keenan added another defender by trading his second-round pick in Wednesday’s draft and a conditional first-round pick next year to the Buffalo Bandits for Chris Corbeil.

“It’s been crazy. We lose another team and the league gets harder and we trade away our captain,” Keenan said. “It’s been busy, but it’s been positive at the same time.

“And you know what? We may not be finished. We may still be trying to strengthen our team.”

The Rush open the 2012 season at Rexall Place Jan. 20 against the Colorado Mammoth.

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