The month following the 2020 NLL Draft has been busy for the Philadelphia Wings. Two players from their 2020 draft class have signed one-year contracts with the Wings, while Philadelphia extended Steph Charbonneau one more season. Bolstering the defense became the priority for the Wings in October. Finishing the shortened season with the ninth-best defense in the league (measuring goals against as primary metric) meant Philadelphia needed to make it a priority. The Wings did that in the 2020 NLL Draft, selecting four defensemen and inking two of them to deals.
Pion played college lacrosse at Johns Hopkins University. Philadelphia Wings head coach and general manager, Paul Day, showed the faith he had in Pion by signing him to a one-year deal. It is a prove-it deal for Pion with the Wings because he did not play lacrosse in 2020. He spent his 2020 season at Johns Hopkins University recovering from surgery but returned to practice before the season ended. Pion was a sought after defenseman when he entered the collegiate level, ranking as the thirteenth best defenseman in the nation.
At Johns Hopkins University, Pion played seven games as a short-stick defensive middie. In box lacrosse, that stint as a short-stick defensive middie is vital. Through seven games, he caused a turnover and recovered a ground ball. In comparison, he contributed more as a short-stick defensive middie in 2019 than he did with a long-stick in 2018.
Kit was the final defenseman drafted by the Philadelphia Wings in the 2020 NLL Draft. A fifth-round selection from Western University, Kit was the player of the game in the 2018 Baggataway Cup. That was the third time in a row that Western University won the Baggataway Cup.
In comparison to the other defensemen selected by the Philadelphia Wings, Kit is a relative unknown. He doesn’t take bad penalties and can adapt to short-stick defense in box lacrosse. Similar to Marc Pion, Kit also has experience as a short-stick defensive middie.
Of all the signings in October, this one was the most important for the Philadelphia Wings. Charbonneau signed a one-year extension to continue his run with the Wings. Last season, Charbonneau finished third on Philadelphia in loose ball recoveries (behind Trevor Baptiste and Kiel Matisz.) In all, the Wings finished second in the NLL in loose ball recoveries. His efforts with Philadelphia last season made him a top fifteen defenseman in the entire league.
Charbonneau led all Philadelphia Wings defensemen in points. It is always vital for any sports franchise to extend the contract of the best player on the team at any position. Alongside Charbonneau is Liam Byrnes, who led all Wings defensemen in caused turnovers. The Wings made sure to add on to their defensive power through the NLL Draft for the 2021 season.
Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre