National Lacrosse League Hall of Famer and Stealth President / General Manager Johnny Mouradian discusses the 2009 San Jose Stealth in the following question and answer session. Mouradian talks about the team's depth, the emphasis on size and who Mouradian believes is the steal of the Stealth's six member draft class.
YOU COACHED HEAD COACH JEFF DOWLING IN COLLEGE, WHAT WAS HE LIKE AS A PLAYER?
I coached Jeff at Brock University in St. Catherines, Ontario, which is also my hometown.? He was one of our leaders and worked hard on every part of his game all the time.? Certainly a player who coached when he played and directed traffic on the field. He was very passionate and emotional which made him a great player to have on our team. He could score goals, played solid defense and could take face-offs.
WHAT MOVES IN ADDITION TO THE DRAFT ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT?
We are excited to have acquired Matt Roik from Chicago.? He was the hottest goaltender in the NLL at the end of the season and we feel he will fit well with Aaron (Bold) and Tyler (Richards).? In many ways, we feel we have the deepest goalie trio in the NLL.? We were very happy to reacquire Peter (Veltman) whom we had lost to Boston in the expansion draft.? He played great down the stretch for us last season and gives us a tough, team oriented player.? Getting Travis Gillespie and then adding Mike Grimes in the dispersal draft definitely made us better immediately.? We are very excited about our free agent signings, all of whom add athleticism and size to our roster.? We signed Kyle Hartzell (Salisbury State) and Joe Kostolansky (Hofstra) who both played for the San Francisco Dragons (MLL).? Brett Neal (New York Institute of Technology) was the Division II Defenseman of the Year last season.? Mike Doneger (Johns Hopkins) was a team captain as a senior and is a big strong presence, and Brett Manney (Delaware) was a standout defensive midfielder who also played in the MLL for the Washington Bayhawks and also brings a great deal of size to the team.
GOING INTO THE DRAFT, WHAT WAS YOUR GOAL AND DID YOU ACCOMPLISH IT?
Going in?we wanted to take Paul (Rabil) and Rhys (Duch) if they were available, and fortunately we were able to get both of them.? In Paul and Rhys we felt we acquired two players who can step in right away and play for us on our right side.?With the 5th pick we selected Kevin Huntley who we feel can play immediately on our left side.? We think the surprise of the draft was Alex Turner (New Westminster Salmonbellies) who we did not think would be around when we picked in the third round.? Alex was fourth or fifth in Junior A scoring this past summer and he could turn out to be the steal of the draft.? Many GM's we spoke with were thinking of selecting him in the first round, so this turns out to be a bonus?lefty for us.? Nick O'Hara (Duke) was our final selection in the sixth round, and is currently recovering from knee surgery and could be available mid season.? Had he not undergone surgery, many also felt he would have been a first or second round selection.? We felt that we had a real nice draft and added some guys who can play right away.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH IN TRAINING CAMP?
We want to come out of training camp with our guys knowing and understanding our systems and being a close knit cohesive team.? We have a new head coach in Jeff Dowling and a new offensive coordinator in Chris Hall both of whom have won Championships?in the NLL.? I want this group of players to understand what it takes to be a championship caliber team and the overall approach will be set during these camps.
HOW IS THE TEAM DIFFERENT THIS YEAR?
We are feeling very good about this team.? We have added size, speed and have a great deal of depth at every position.? This is the deepest team we have ever had in San Jose, and we are going to have players that played for us in our last game in 2008 and in the playoffs that would not be on our team right now.? We have added depth in our dressed lineup as opposed to depth in our 17th, 18th 19th guy.? We have really beefed up the team on the defensive end going into 2009.
This is going to be a very fun team to watch play.