By Aly Morrissey | 12/1/11 7:00 PM
With a single glance at the list of eligible players in the 2012 MLL Expansion Draft, it's obvious that there is no shortage of talent. As one of two new Major League Lacrosse teams to begin play in 2012, the Ohio Machine knows that their selections will be critical. Their strategy is simple, yet effective.
“We’re focusing on drafting the best available players since we’re starting from scratch,” said Machine President and GM John Algie. “We’re trying to fill a need, and as a new team we have needs everywhere.”
The Machine’s philosophy is that they’d like to build their team from the goal out, despite the fact that they’ve yet to secure a big name goalie. With former MLL Champion Chris Garrity, 2010 MLL Goalie of the Year Kip Turner and fan-favorite Brett Queener up for grabs, keep an eye out for Ohio to make a move early on.
The Machine will bring previous MLL Draft experience to the table in the upcoming drafts. Head Coach Ted Garber was also a head coach in the 2000 MLL Summer Showcase Tour, the head coach for the Bridgeport Barrage in MLL’s inaugural season in 2001, and worked as an assistant coach for Boston, Chicago and Rochester.
Algie admits the team’s experience will be an asset in their decision making, but stresses the importance of the tireless research required to prepare for such an important milestone for a young team.
“There’s a lot of communication between the management and the coaching staff,” he said. “We watch as much game footage as we can. We do a lot of communicating with those who have coached players in the past, and we’ve been speaking directly with players who we’re interested in.”
The Machine already boasts star power despite being new to the League. In October the team acquired The Ohio State University alums Greg Bice, Anthony Kelly and Stefan Schroder, as well as MLL veteran Brett Garber. They also received Rochester’s second round MLL Collegiate Draft pick (15th overall) in the trade. In return, the Machine traded their first round (1st overall) and 13th round (25th overall) MLL Expansion Draft picks and their second round (10th overall) and third round (18th overall) MLL Collegiate Draft picks to Rochester.
Greg Bice received the MLL New Balance Sportsman of the Year award in 2011. Both he and face-off specialist Anthony Kelly are former MLL All-Stars. In October, Coach Garber described the four as the team’s “core group of talented players.”
Additionally, the Machine recently picked up All-Star defenseman Kyle Hartzell, who knows what it takes to be a champion. He assisted the Chesapeake Bayhawks in bringing home the Steinfeld Trophy in 2010.
As for collaborating with their current nucleus of players, Algie says the team has been refraining from eliciting any extensive advice for the draft. “We’re firm believers in letting the coaches coach, and the managers manage,” he said.
Algie adds that the Machine is excited to get the initial building blocks for its team in place.
“We know we’re going to have a great team and will surprise a lot of people out of the gates.”
For more information on the MLL Drafts, click here. Don’t forget to join the live blog during the 2012 MLL Expansion Draft on Dec. 7 at 1 p.m. ET at www.majorleaguelacrosse.com and chat with MLL representatives and other fans.