Faceoff ace Geoff Snider comes in at #22 in the ILIndoor's Top 50.
The game has changed rules for this man and it hasn’t slowed him down one bit.Geoff Snider is the man we’re talking about and if you’ve any idea at all about the National Lacrosse League, you know what we’re talking about. Snider is, bar none, the best man in lacrosse today at the faceoff circle. And when it’s all said and done for Snider, which is nowhere near happening, he’s likely to be remembered as the best ever on draws. With a lifetime winning percentage hovering near 75% in the NLL, the Calgary Roughnecks transition man is the face of dominance but that’s not why he’s on ILIndoor’s list of the Top 50. At least, it’s not the sole reason. There are more facets to the game of this 5-foot-10, 200-pound right-hander out of Calgary, and they are facets that have long been on display.
Some are of the opinion that faceoffs really aren’t that important in the NLL. With the 30-second shot clock, you’ll get the ball back soon anyway so what’s the big deal? To a degree, that’s true. But when you’re locked into a tight game in the waning moments of a big game and you need the ball, you need Snider. And his 310 wins at the dot last year didn’t just lead the NLL, it obliterated all other comers as the No. 2 man in the league was younger brother Bob, who won a distant 262.
Snider has never been below 70% for faceoff winning percentage and in 3 of the last 4 seasons, he’s been around 75%. In 2012, he won an incredible 78%, which pretty much translates to winning 8 of every 10 draws he takes. And that was after the NLL changed its rules before the start of the 2011 season that dictated drawmen putting the heads of their sticks 8 inches apart at the dot instead of the usual 2 inches.
But like we said earlier, there’s more than faceoffs. Snider wins the draws and when he does, he knows what to do. He’s keen at recognizing the opportunity to push the ball himself for a goal, or pull back and wait for teammates. He scored 17 goals (on 42 shots for 40%) for the Riggers last winter, just 2 short of his career-best 19 (2010). Of course, winning all those draws puts him in good position for loosies and he led the NLL in 2013 with 235, while his 69 PIMs also led the league.
What’s more, Snider led Calgary with 27 forced turnovers, showing all that his defensive prowess is on an elite level as well. Do what you want to Snider. You can change the rules and you can change your faceoff alignment by keeping 3 men back, but nothing has worked so far as Snider rolls onward with his domination.
“He’s known, obviously, for his work on faceoffs. But if you prepare for just that, it’s a mistake. Snider’s got lacrosse talent across the board that can burn teams in so many ways. He’s intense, he’s fierce and besides playing great lacrosse, he doesn’t hesitate to mix it up as one of the league’s best fighters that can extend momentum or steal it from an opponent.” – Bob Chavez
“Arriving in Calgary was the best thing that ever happened to Geoff Snider. It is in Calgary that he developed a solid game with a defined role which makes the Roughnecks dangerous for 60 minutes. Snider’s faceoffs are legendary, the best ever really. It is the ability to strike quickly off a draw or a scrum that makes him so lethal. Defense and shooting are strengths of his game and he is a master at getting under the skin of his foes.” – Marty O’Neill
“Every time it looks like someone has figured out how to match Snider in the faceoff circle, he comes back better than ever at winning draws. Most recently it was his brother Bobby, who crept within a few percentage points of Geoff’s winning rate in 2012. But in 2013, while the rest of the league started to reel Bobby in a bit, there was Geoff still winning three-quarters of the draws he took. If you put a lot of value on possession after goals, Geoff Snider is a guy you want on your roster.” – Stephen Stamp