It wouldn't be a National Lacrosse League Entry Draft without the Buffalo Bandits completing some sort of trade. General Manager Steve Dietrich lived up to his reputation on Monday night in Oakville, Ont., by completing a trade for an experienced defender.
The Bandits gave up the second of their three second-round draft choices (16th overall) to the Rochester Knighthawks. In return, Buffalo received Brad Self.
The veteran spent the past five seasons with Rochester. In 2016, he had eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points. Self has scored between 20 and 25 points in every season with the Knighthawks.
The name may be familiar to Bandits' fans. Self was the first pick by the Bandits - a second-round choice in 2001. He did not play for the team then, and made his NLL debut in 2003 with Ottawa.
In addition, brother Scott Self was a Bandit from 2011 to 2013 until he was traded to Rochester.
Before the trade, the Bandits took defender Justin Martin, a defender from the University of Guelph, with their opening pick in the second round (13th overall).
Then with the 18th overall choice, Buffalo took goalie Kevin Orleman of the University of Guelph. Starter Anthony Cosmo will turn 39 early next month, so the Bandits may want to set up some competition with Dave DiRuscio for the future.
Other choices by the Bandits were:
- Third round - T.J. Sanders, forward, Penn State
- Fourth round - Bryce Brochu, forward, Langley
- Fifth round - Drake Smith, forward/transition, Kitchener-Waterloo (brother of Bandits' Dhane Smith)
- Sixth round - Logan Holmes, forward, Windsor
The first pick of the draft was a familiar name: Ryan Keenan, a forward from Quinnipiac. He is the son of Derek Keenan, the coach and general manager of the Saskatchewan Rush. Keenan won a league championship with the Rush last season; he earned two rings as a player with the Buffalo Bandits in 1992 and 1993.
"I can't wait to get started on this journey," Ryan Keenan said after his selection.
The NLL's biggest week of the offseason continues on Tuesday night. The evening will salute the league's best, past and present.
A couple of ex-Bandits will be formally inducted into the NLL Hall of Fame. John Tavares, who played for Buffalo for 24 years, was the first person ever voted unanimously into the Hall. He will be joined by Tracey Kelusky, who spent part of his career with the Bandits, and Josh Sanderson, one of the top scorers.
In addition, the league's awards for 2016 will be selected. Most of the drama there centers on Dhane Smith of the Bandits. He had a sensational season, leading the league in goals (72) and points (137) and helping the Bandits reach the NLL Finals for the first time since 2008. Smith is considered the favorite to be named the league's Most Valuable Player. However, Shawn Evans of New England might have something to say about it. Evans had an excellent year with 118 points, and helped the Black Wolves climb into the NLL East final.
The Bandits' only MVPs in their 25 years of play have been Tavares (twice) and Dietrich.
Buffalo has other finalists in the award voting in a variety of categories, but Smith probably is the only member of the organization to be considered a favorite in any of them.