Six weeks into the 2016 National Lacrosse League season, rookies continue to impress on a weekly basis. It seems as though each and every week we have a standout performance from one of the league’s freshmen. While the likes of Wesley Berg, Jesse King, Graeme Hossack and Chad Tutton have all been consistently good, Randy Staats has provided the league’s onlookers with eye-popping performances each an every time he steps foot on the turf.
This past week was more of the same, but his heroics weren’t enough to will the Swarm past the Roughnecks. While most of the talk thus far this season has been centered around the group already mentioned, the likes of Mitch de Snoo, Jordan Durston, Jordan Gilles and Adam Bomberry have all provided excellent efforts on a weekly basis. This week two more youngsters looked to add their names to the list of standout rookies as Ryan Wagner (Vancouver) andTyler Ferreira (Buffalo) brought to 26 the number of rookies to debut so far this season.
2. Wesley Berg (RF) – Calgary Roughnecks
2 GP – 2 G – 6 A – 8 PTS – 0 PIM – 9 SOG – 5 LB -5 TO – 0 CTO
When thinking of a way to describe Berg’s season to date, the term “steady as she goes” immediately comes to mind. The athletic and versatile offensive threat out of Coquitlam, BC has been a consistent presence for the Roughnecks offence. Tallying another 2 goals and 6 assists this past weekend, Berg continues to produce at an impressive pace that sees him currently averaging 3.5 points per game. Sitting fourth in Roughnecks scoring, Berg has been everything Calgary expected him to be when they selected him fourth overall in the 2015 NLL draft. A player who takes advantage of his touches and looks to create every time he possesses the ball, Berg can beat you from almost anywhere on the floor and makes it look easy when he does. With an immense amount of speed and skill, Berg looks to only be scratching the surface of his true potential.
5. Reilly O’Connor (LF) – Calgary Roughnecks
2 GP – 0 G – 4 A – 4 PTS – 0 PIM – 8 SOG – 5 LB – 3 TO – 1 CTO
One of the more quiet rookies through six weeks, O’Connor finally looked as though he turned the corner this past weekend. The seventh overall pick in 2015, O’Connor came into the season with lofty expectations. He is best known for his back to back to back 100-point seasons at the Jr A level with his hometown Whitby Warriors. O’Connor went through a similar transition phase last summer as he got off to an eerily similar slow start with the Brooklin Redmen, only to have more impact in the second half of the season. With a breakout three-point performance against the Saskatchewan Rush on Friday night, O’Connor looked much more comfortable and seemingly got back to his game, the game that made him so successful through his junior career. Since he’s at his absolute best when in possession of the ball, it’s not surprising O’Connor has struggled early as his touches have been limited behind Dane Dobbie and Jeff Shattler. With the monkey seemingly off his back, look for O’Connor’s production to significantly rise in the coming weeks.
To see the rest of the NLL Rookie Report, click here.