Buffalo had plenty of fantastic picks in the 2012 NLL Draft. The Bandits gained Dhane Smith, Hayden Smith and Jordan Critch. All three of those guys are fantastic players, but they weren't all the team got out of the night. There was another player that could make big waves in the league: Carter Bender.
Buffalo took Bender in the second round (18th overall). The team said on its website that it was surprised he was still available at this point. The higher-ups considered it a steal, and who can blame them?
Bender has plenty of experience. He's on Rochester in the MLL, but is probably better known for his work with the Brampton Excelsiors of the MSL. 2012 was his second season on the team. He joined towards the end of 2011, but didn't take long to get going. The Ontario native scored twice in the three games in the regular season and added four more goals in five playoff games. Those are good, but the workload increased exponentially the next year.
In 2012, Bender was third on the Excelsiors in points with 25 (10 g, 15 a). That includes three games of four points or more. The postseason didn't go the way Bender or his teammates would've like, but once again he played well. He tacked on six goals and had a point in all but one game. That's good stuff.
Bender may not be the player that a Joe Resetarits or Kiel Matisz is, but he can stay play with the best of them. When trying to build a championship team, it never hurts to have a few Carter Benders around.
(Photo Source: Bryon Johnson/The Brampton Guardian)