Langley-based Stealth loading up for 2015 NLL campaign

The biggest mover and shaker at the 2014 National Lacrosse League draft was unquestionably, Langley’s own Vancouver Stealth.

The Stealth made headlines earlier in the day, acquiring rising star Johnny Powless and gritty forward Joel McCready from the Rochester Knighthawks.

In exchange, the Stealth gave up their 2014 first round pick (second overall) as well as their second round pick (11th overall) and first round picks in 2015 and 2017.

“Ever since I got the phone call this morning, I’ve been pretty excited,” Powless said. “I’ve got a lot of support from my family and fans and I’m looking forward to the season.”

Stealth head coach Dan Perreault said it’s “going to be a treat to coach Johnny and a treat for the fans to watch him.”

“He sees the floor so well and makes everyone better,” Perreault said, of the newly acquired Powless.

Regarding McCready, Perreault said, “Joel works so hard and gets rewarded by using his strength to grind out goals. It’s a great fit for our right side.”

The Stealth weren’t done with the draft day trades as the team traded its ninth overall pick to the Buffalo Bandits for physical defenseman Rory Smith, goaltender Eric Penney, and the Bandits’ 12th overall pick.

Along with the Stealth’s ninth pick, the Bandits also received Nick Weiss, the Stealth’s second round pick in 2015 and the team’s first rounder in 2018.

“We got a lot done today to help our team,” Stealth president and general manager Doug Locker said. “Adding players like Johnny, Joel, and Rory would be huge under any circumstance, but coupled with the quality players we secured via the draft, I think it’s a big day for our organization. We have added some exciting pieces that are going to help us compete and make for some fun for our fans to watch, too.”

Smith has played seven seasons in the NLL.

In 103 games, he’s tallied 12 assists and 363 penalty minutes.

“He’s a solid defender,” said Perreault. “When he’s out there he’s tough to play against. Having Rory out there makes our back end tougher.”

With the 12th overall pick from Buffalo, the Stealth selected Conrad Chapman.

The transition player dressed in all 18 games for the Nanaimo Timbermen of the WLA in 2014, scoring three goals and three assists. He’s a big presence on the floor, standing at 6’6” and 230 pounds.

“He’s a big body and somewhat of a late bloomer who’s really come on,” Perreault said. “He’s turned into a fine player with great speed and keeps getting better every time I watch him.”

The third round saw Vancouver with three selections, drafting Brandon Clelland, Dan Keane and Jakob Doucet.

Clelland, drafted 21st overall, was a member of the Orangeville Northmen in 2014.

The defenceman was named to the all-second team.

Keane was a member of the Ontario junior A Brampton Excelsiors, where the right-handed shooter scored 146 points in 35 career games.

“It’s an honour,” said the 23rd overall pick. “I’m glad I got this opportunity and I hope to make the team.”

Doucet’s a left-handed defenceman who’s played the last three seasons for the New Westminster Salmonbellies of the BC Junior A Lacrosse League. The 25th overall pick played in 49 regular season games, scoring 55 points.

The Stealth’s lone selection in the fourth round was Matt Delmonico, who was picked 30th overall. The right-hander goes to school and plays lacrosse for the Seton Hall Griffins in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

“We’re lucky to pick him up where we did in the draft, and he’ll be competing for a spot on the right side,” Perreault said.

The final two selections saw Vancouver go with a pair of solid defenders, drafting DJ Saari, 39th overall and Steve Ferdinandi with their final pick, in the 48th spot.

Saari played in the BCJALL for the past three seasons with Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, and Nanaimo. He was a member of the Jr. Adanacs team that played in the 2013 Minto Cup.

Ferdinandi was the captain of the New Westminster Jr. A Salmonbellies this year.

Out of the 11 players the Stealth acquired on draft day, five were defencemen along with four forwards, one goalie, and one transition player.

“We’re happy with how we came out of this draft,” said an excited Stealth bench boss. “We’ve got some great guys who are going to compete hard and it’s going to be a battle in training camp.”

The new acquisitions will join the Stealth at training camp for the 2015 season in early December, as they look to earn their way on to the roster.

Vancouver opens the regular season on the road against the Calgary Roughnecks on Jan. 3, 2015.

The Stealth’s home opener is the following week when they host the Toronto Rock on Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.

Stealth season tickets are available for the 2015 season, starting at $99. For details click on the Stealth website here.

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