Philadelphia – With the 26th overall pick in the 2018 NLL Entry Draft on Tuesday night at the Xfinity LIVE!, the New England Black Wolves added depth to a playoff roster, choosing Jackson Nishimura with the final selection of the second round.
A speedy defender and transition player, the 6-foot-1 Nishimura had nine goals and eight assists in 20 games this past summer for the Toronto Beaches of the Ontario Junior A League.
“He has a tremendous upside,” Black Wolves General Manager Rich Lisk said. “He reminds me of a young Colton Watkinson. We did not think we could get him where we did. It worked out perfectly.”
That pick highlighted the night for the Black Wolves, who also had selections at 31, 59 and 70, and managed to add a pick at 34 in a trade with Georgia.
“The people we wanted fell to where we wanted them,” coach Glenn Clark said. “Your expectations are realistic for what spots you’re in. You have a group of guys you hope are available. To be honest, the guys we had ranked highest were the guys we got.”
The Black Wolves added goalie Ethan Woods with the 31st overall pick, then traded with the Georgia Swarm to acquire the 34th pick, which it used to select athletic defender Tal Bruno out of John’s Hopkins. Woods spent the past four seasons playing Junior A for Barrie Lakeshore, collecting 551 saves with a 9.51 goals-against average this past season.
“Woods and Bruno we had tagged before the draft,” Lisk said. “We knew we were looking for a goalie. We really wanted Woods and were excited to get him. We saw Bruno at the Philadelphia Combine and knew he would not last long. We were happy to be able to move up and grab him.”
New England rounded out the draft by selecting lefty forward Dereck Downs with the 59th overall pick and right-handed Matt Lee at 70. Downs won a Minto Cup with Coquitlam in 2016, and he had 32 points with 20 goals as a member of the Brampton Excelsiors during the 2018 MSL season. Lee was selected out of Wheeling Jesuit University.
“Downs was a player who stood out to us at the Toronto Combine,” Lisk said. “He is a pure shooter who can put the ball in the net and is going to help our left side. Lee was another guy we identified at the Toronto Combine. He is going to be a great addition to the right side.”