The defending champion Rochester Knighthawks and the Calgary Roughnecks are the early favorites among IL Indoor experts as Inside Lacrosse released their team rankings for the 2013 NLL season. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
Inside Lacrosse has released their consensus team rankings for the 2013 National Lacrosse League regular season, which kicks off this weekend on Saturday, Jan. 5. The defending champion Rochester Knighthawks and the Calgary Roughnecks are the early favorites among the six-member voting panel from IL Indoor.com.
See below for the rankings and select excerpts from the experts:
1) Rochester Knighthawks
“You can’t really drop the defending champs after they added two of the best players ever and still managed to keep their core," wrote Teddy Jenner. "Only worry will be too much offense and only one ball.”
2) Calgary Roughnecks
“I’m a big fan of the Calgary style and the Riggers won’t miss a step with new coach Curt Malawsky," wrote Bob Chavez. "They’ve been the best team in the regular season for a few years now but are eager to prove they can translate that to the postseason.”
3) Toronto Rock
“The Rock have a 50-50 shot of coming on top in the East," wrote Ty Pilson. "It’s a two-horse race between them and Rochester. That said, the Rock need more production out of their transition game this season to be successful.”
T-4) Colorado Mammoth
“There’s no way John Grant Jr. can duplicate last year’s season," wrote Brian Shanahan. "West division will be a lot tougher this year."
T-4) Edmonton Rush
“Who isn’t excited to see what this team can do in 2013?," wrote Casey Vock. "Feels like this offense could be pretty nasty when guys start to gel with one another, which would be a big boost to a team that struggled to score in the past. While the offense looks terrific with some off-season additions — most notably top draft pick Mark Matthews — you can’t sleep on the Rush defense, which features two of the best young defenders in the game in Rubisch and Corbeil."
6) Minnesota Swarm
“The Swarm were stacked with young talent and added four more first-round picks," Pilson wrote. "Embarrasment of riches? I’d say so. Adding scoring depth with Kiel Matisz and Shayne Jackson addressed team’s biggest need.”
7) Washington Stealth
“I like the defence and I think Tyler Richards will be back on top of his game, which will make a big difference for them," wrote Stephen Stamp. "Iannucci is primed for a monster year and Lewis Ratcliff always scores a bunch. The one concern is how quickly and completely the group of forwards can mesh.”
8) Buffalo Bandits
“The Bandits overhauled their roster but they still face an uphill battle," Pilson wrote. "They are playing catch-up in a league where most teams have already invested in youth and speed. Don’t think they did enough to be a contender.”
9) Philadelphia Wings
“Someone has to finish last," Stamp wrote. "And we have to pick someone to finish last. With all the talent in the league now, it’s a crap shoot whether the two will be the same.”
To read the full story with more expert analysis on ILindoor.com, please click here.