Transitioning to the pros can be a major leap for a lot of first year players in the National Lacrosse League. So which players have best made the jump so far? Check out the NLL Rookie Report for Week 5 by Bob Chavez on IL Indoor to keep tabs on the rookie scoring race and find out which players are emerging as they continue to develop their game at the highest level.
“And here we go. After 5 weeks of National Lacrosse League action, we have a legit scoring race going on,” Chavez writes. “Minnesota’s Miles Thompson had claimed the early lead, but Edmonton’s Ben McIntosh has produced 15 points (6 goals, 9 assists) in his last 2 games to overtake Thompson. So who’s the better rookie? That’s a tough question to answer considering different systems require different skill sets. Either way, it looks as though we’ll have plenty to watch as the season progresses for the NLL’s young guns, and that’s why we have our weekly Rookie Report.”
1) Miles Thompson (Minnesota Swarm): The right-handed forward out of Onondaga Nation had 2 goals and 1 assist along with 4 loose balls and 1 forced turnover in Friday’s road loss to Buffalo. The No. 3 overall pick was playing against his brother in Buffalo and for this week at least, Jerome takes the bragging rights. With 10 goals and 7 assists, he’s No. 2 in the rooking scoring race and maintains the top spot in our Rookie Rankings, but not by much.
2) Ben McIntosh (Edmonton Rush): The right-handed forward out of Port Coquitlam had another big game, scoring a career-best 8 points on 4 goals and 4 assists in Friday’s home win over Minnesota. He scored 2 in the first quarter to help the Rush build a 4-0 lead, then added 2 more in the third to help put the Rush in control. With 21 points on 11 goals and 10 assists, McIntosh is the top-scoring rookie in the NLL.
3) Eli McLaughlin (Colorado Mammoth): The left-handed forward out of Surrey, B.C., had 2 goals and 2 assists while scooping 2 loose balls in Saturday’s road loss to Vancouver. He’s been the epitome of steady play recently for Colorado with 3 straight games of scoring 2 goals. With 12 points on 6 goals and 6 assists, he’s No. 3 in the rookie scoring race and providing the scoring depth the Mammoth need to support the work of the front liners.
4) Jerome Thompson (Buffalo Bandits): The left-handed forward out of Nedrow, N.Y., returned to the floor after having Week 3 off and he lit up Minnesota for 4 goals and 1 assist in Friday’s home win. He also scooped 5 loose balls and 3 of his goals came in the first half to help Buffalo set the tone for its win. He played in Saturday’s road loss to Rochester and didn’t register a shot on goal, but did scoop 5 loosies. With veteran left-hander John Tavares on IR, Thompson should get plenty of reps in the coming weeks to establish himself as an NLL regular.
Click here to find full list of first-year difference makers on the NLL Rookie Report by Bob Chavez on IL Indoor.