Week 13 of National Lacrosse League action was not only a busy one league wide, but a busy one for rookies as twenty-three first year players saw action. While the usual suspects in the weekly rookie report continued to perform admirably for their respective teams, numerous rookies had impressive performances this past week and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention them.
In Rochester, Derek Searle and Brad Gillies found themselves back in the lineup, with Searle suiting up in New England and Gillies in the second half of the teams’ back to back with the Black Wolves in Rochester. Meanwhile in Toronto, Peterborough native Turner Evans found himself back in the lineup for the first time since the Rock’s February 14th game against New England, suiting up in both of Toronto’s losses to Saskatchewan. Manitoba native Luc Magnan also made his return to the Rock lineup Saturday night in Saskatchewan, playing in his first game since January 29th. In Calgary, Kellen LeClair played some of his best lacrosse to date as his Roughnecks came away with a 1-1 record, defeating the Georgia Swarm before falling to Colorado on the road. Lastly, towering Dan Taylor did not miss a beat when he returned to the Saskatchewan Rush lineup on Saturday night against Toronto, potting two goals including the game winner 12:32 into the third quarter.
1. (1) Jesse King (LF) – Georgia Swarm
13-35-48 – 4 PIM – 95 S – 48 LB – 15 TO – 1 CTO
Despite a down week statistically, Jesse King retains his spot atop the Rookie Rankings. The dominating lefty out of Victoria, BC continues to dictate the Swarm’s offensive attack with elite playmaking abilities and high-end floor vision. With a goal and two assists this week, King now sits with 48 points on the season, just four shy of team points leader and fellow rookie sniper Randy Staats.
2. (2) Wesley Berg (RF) – Georgia Swarm
19-33-52 – 10 PIM – 143 S – 66 LB – 27 TO – 5 CTO
Berg, like King, retains his spot in the weekly rookie ranking after back to back dominating performances for his Calgary Roughnecks. Berg has been the model of consistency as far as offensive production goes. He produced four-point performances in both games this weekend, moving him past Tyler Digby and Dane Dobbie in Roughnecks team scoring as well as into the top 20 league wide.
3. (3) Randy Staats (RF) – Georgia Swarm
23-29-52 – 14 PIM – 156 S – 51 LB – 17 TO – 5 CTO
Coming off a quiet two-assist performance against Rochester in Week 12, Staats looked to get back to his torrid point-producing pace this week against Calgary. The former Syracuse standout did just that, potting a goal and three assists in Georgia’s 16-12 loss to the Rougnecks. With 23 goals and 29 assists on the season, Staats not only leads the Swarm in scoring, but also sits in a three-way tie with Stephan LeBlanc and fellow rookie Berg for 18th overall in league scoring.
4. (5) Chad Tutton (D) – Georgia Swarm
11-6-17 – 26 PIM – 42 S – 54 LB – 16 TO – 17 CTO
Tutton moves up a spot in the rankings after yet another eye-opening performance. Tutton found the back of the net three times on Saturday night, while also scooping up five loose balls. With 11 goals and 6 assists on the season, Tutton sits with a very respectable 17 points. But more impressively, Tutton has excelled at the defensive end of the floor as well. Currently sitting second on the team in caused turnovers with 17 and fifth in loose balls with 54, Tutton literally has been all over the game sheet for the Swarm on a consistent basis.
5. (4) Graeme Hossack (D) – Rochester Knighthawks
2-3-5 – 9 PIM – 11 S – 70 LB – 6 TO – 13 CTO
It pains me to move Hossack down to the fifth spot as he really has been very, very good for Rochester this season. Maybe this ranking is unfair, but the guys in front of him have just been so dominating the past couple of weeks they deserve their push up the rankings. Again, it’s not as though Hossack deserves to fall; this ranking could easily be a case of King, Staats, Berg, Tutton and Hossack all tied for first. With that being said, the 6’2″ Port Perry native was excellent again despite his Knighthawks dropping back to back games to New England. Hossack managed to pick up six loose balls, two caused turnovers and one assist in the weekend set and looks to be well on the way to a highly successful NLL career.
6. (6) Jordan Durston (LF) – Vancouver Stealth
12-17-29 – 25 PIM – 50 S – 32 LB – 20 TO – 2 CTO
A week after tallying a career high in points with 6, Durston was relatively quiet as far as point production goes this past week. With just one assist in Vancouver’s 17-10 loss to the Buffalo Bandits, Durston now sits with 29 points on the season, good for sixth in team scoring. While Durston couldn’t seem to solve Anthony Cosmo in the Bandits cage, he did make his presence felt, firing seven shots on goal while scooping up four loose balls and earning two penalty minutes in the loss. Durston will look to bounce back with a big statistical performance this coming weekend when the injury-riddled defence of the Toronto Rock comes to town.
7. (7) Lyle Thompson (RF) – Georgia Swarm
12-23-35 – 4 PIM – 89 S – 43 LB – 21 TO – 9 CTO
Thompson hasn’t been tearing up opposing defenses like some expected this season but he’s still been a fairly consistent presence at the offensive end for the Georgia Swarm. Surely the former U of Albany star would like to improve on the fact he’s only produced five points in his last three games. With so much talent lining the Swarm offense, though, Thompson’s touches have been limited, similarly to Reilly O’Connor in Calgary. This week Thompson picked up two assists, six loose balls and one caused turnover in Georgia’s loss to Calgary.
8. (HM) Dan Taylor (LF) – Saskatchewan Rush
4-6-10 – 0 PIM – 20 S – 11 LB – 17 TO – 0 CTO
Taylor made his return to the Rush lineup on Saturday night after last seeing action on February 28th in Calgary. While being a healthy scratch is looked upon as a negative thing, in Dan Taylor’s case it’s simply a numbers game. Who does Taylor take out of the Rush lineup on any given night? The team is just so deep and talented, with the offensive end of things arguably the team’s strength. With that being said every time the towering lefty as has been in the lineup he’s produced. This past week Taylor potted two goals against Toronto, one of which was the game winner. With ten points in just four games, one could argue if Taylor was seeing regular floor time or getting the touches a King, Staats or Berg get, he would be among the league’s contenders for Rookie of the Year.
9. (8) Jordan Gilles (D) – Colorado Mammoth
6-0-6 – 2 PIM – 14 S – 50 LB – 7 TO – 12 CTO
Gilles may not have produced offensively, but he was yet again very good for the Colorado Mammoth in their one-goal victory over a surging Calgary Roughnecks squad. Gilles made his impact with his athleticism and sound 1 on 1 defensive abilities. With six loose balls and two caused turnovers the Richmond, BC native was one of the Mammoth’s better defenders in a very tight checking game, against an explosive offensive attack.
10. (HM) Anthony Malcom (RF) – Buffalo Bandits
11-14-25 – 2 PIM – 59 S – 33 LB – 13 TO – 0 CTO
Malcom makes his way into the Rookie Rankings Top 10 for the first time since this ranking became a Rookie of the Year race. The New Westminster, BC native often gets overlooked because he plays behind the likely league MVP in Dhane Smith and the talented Mark Steenhuis on the right side of the Bandits offense. With that being said, it should be noted that Malcom has played his role effectively, creating space for the his talented teammates to operate while also filling the net when the opportunity presents itself. Malcom picked up two goals and one assist in Buffalo’s dominating win over Vancouver, giving him 11 goals and 14 assists on the season.
Reilly O’Connor (LF) – Calgary Roughnecks
Tyson Bell (D) – Calgary Roughnecks
Dan Lintner (RF) – Toronto Rock
Adam Bomberry (D) – Rochester Knighthawks
Mitch de Snoo (D) Buffalo Bandits