The Minnesota Swarm's Kiel Matisz ranks 46th in IL Indoor's countdown of the top 50 players in the National Lacrosse League. (Photo: Chris Fischbeck)
As the 2014 NLL season draws closer, IL Indoor is counting down their picks for the top 50 players in the National Lacrosse League. Find the list of players ranked #40-50 below along with links to their article and commentary from the IL Indoor staff.
"And here we are again, kicking off IL Indoor’s annual ranking of players. It’s been a staple of the site for a few years and this year, we’ve added a bit of a twist. Turning to the old maxim that two heads are better than one, we’ve got three involved in this year’s edition of the Top 50. ILIndoor’s Bob Chavez, Stephen Stamp and Marty O’Neill put together their own lists of the Top 50 players and then through the magic of whatever it is that gets it done, those three lists were morphed into one."
“Bold had to wait for a chance to become a starter, but he seized it when it arrived in Edmonton. He has proven that when he’s on his game he can be as good as any goalie in the league.” – Stephen Stamp
“Love watching his game unfold during games. He’s not the pass interceptor like Steve Toll was, but he always finds a way to get the ball in his stick and out of the zone. It’s the type of game that deflates opponents, and that’s an invaluable asset for any team.” – Bob Chavez
“Not sure how we wound up with Gamble this low in the list. He’s blazing fast and a danger to pick off a pass or scoop a loose ball and go the length of the floor to score any time. He’s also developed into a consistently sound defender who overcomes his lack of height with strength and footwork.” – Stephen Stamp
“I love how Smith has evolved his game. Sure, we were all entertained by his fights but at the end of the day, fights don’t win championships. They still have their place in the game, but Smith has worked hard to get beyond that and earn respect for his lacrosse abilities, not just fighting.” – Bob Chavez
“You know Matisz is big. He knows he’s big. And there’s not a thing you can do about it. Because it’s not just big that gets him to where he wants to be, it’s skill and IQ. Matisz has a great sense for the game that gets him to the right place at the right times. With the experience he’ll gain in the years to come, there’s no reason he can’t become one of the game’s elite.” – Bob Chavez
“Lewis has one of those shots that isn’t fancy, but it’s exciting because of its power. You see that stick drop and as he’s cranking, you’re just glad you’re not in the way. He’s such a consistent producer, year in and year out and while others may provide the slick moves to get inside, Ratcliff’s shots have their own muscle to get through the crowds.” – Bob Chavez
“Sick stick skills and the innate lacrosse sense of someone who’s had a stick in his hands his whole life. He’s already really good, and keep in mind that next year would be his draft year if he hadn’t entered the league early.” – Stephen Stamp
“Hass had a breakout year with Minnesota in 2013. Scoring some huge goals, including an overtime winner, drew some attention to him and helped spotlight his improving defensive and transition game. He’s a stud in the making and has kept on growing through the summer season.” – Stephen Stamp
“Some defenders bring a sandpaper approach to get under your skin. Smith brings an anvil for a stick and lets that do the talking. And yeah, it speaks volumes. He’s not the quickest guy on the floor but he doesn’t have to be. He anticipates well and brings nasty checks to the hands, qualities that make him one of the most feared defenders in the game today.” – Bob Chavez
“Mydske’s style fits in perfectly with Edmonton’s style and the success of the Rush in the last few seasons is proof of that. He’s aggressive but precise, physical but in control. There’s a poetic flow to his game when he’s leading a break and we’re going to be hearing about him more and more as his career progresses.” – Bob Chavez
“There’s an understated power to Leblanc’s game that’s so pretty to watch. He’s got the muscle to make his own space and the finesse to work around anything blocking his path to the cage. He’s one of the players who alone makes every game he’s in worth the price of admission.” – Bob Chavez