Inside Lacrosse continues countdown of the top laxers in the game today
With NLL Face Off Weekend 2015 presented by New Era right around the corner, IL Indoor continues their annual countdown of the National Lacrosse League’s Top 50. The third installment of the series highlights players ranked #21-30 among the best lacrosse pros on the planet.
IL Indoor staffers Bob Chavez, Stephen Stamp and Marty O’Neill collaborated with their own Top 50 lists and a points system produced the final list that will be unfolding as the season nears. Click the link for each player to read the full analysis on Inside Lacrosse and check back to follow the countdown all the way to No. 1.
“There is a time in an NLL defensive player’s career when said player gets a firm grasp on all of his talents and confidence and the level of play rises to unthought of heights, and 2014 was that year for Matt Beers. While the Stealth struggled in many capacities last season Beers shined on defense with big stops and many smart end to end rushes.” – Marty O’Neill
“Crowley has been remarkably consistent as a scorer since being the first overall pick in the 2011 NLL draft. He’s posted 36, 34 and 33 goals in his three seasons, and 71, 72 and 75 points. He took on a bit of a different role with Philadelphia after Dan Dawson was traded to Rochester and it took him a while to really look comfortable as the focal point of the offense, but Crowley grew into the role and looked increasingly comfortable as the season went on. He’s developing into a strong leader for the now Black Wolves team.” – Stephen Stamp
“A run-through-a-brick-wall type of competitor and leader, Suitor is a tenacious defender with the speed and stick skills to make an impact in transition. It took a while for him to look like himself after returning from knee surgery, which is why he’s dropped in this list. But he’s still a player who can lead by example with his hard work and infectious enthusiasm.” – Stephen Stamp
“‘Showtime’ is a great playmaker and balanced offensive threat. He carries the ball and shoots from outside with the leagues finest. Finding the right linemate is inevitably what will put him and the Swarm back in the money as Crawford can’t do it by himself. Crawford still has untapped potential and that is good news for the Swarm. Crawford is the key to power-play success and production in Minnesota.” – Marty O’Neill
“Yes, he can be counted on to win draws, but it’s often what he does after that makes him the player he is. He has a knack for scoring goals that spark big runs for Calgary, or cut off the momentum of opponents. He knows when to go straight to the cage, or buy time with the possession he just won. That can seem insignificant in the early stages of games, but it’s the kind of stuff that adds up and can be the difference later in tight games. It’s all part of the lacrosse IQ he brings, and among the best in the game today.” – Bob Chavez
“Steenhuis is a true entertainer and his long love affair with the fans in Buffalo is all any franchise could hope for in a player. On the field Mark is still a game breaker and his defense was the best ever in 2014. Of course his natural habitat is attacking the net and he does it with flair and creativity like few others. Steenhuis has matured into a very well rounded contributor in Bandit Land.” – Marty O’Neill
“Doyle is such a good passer and creator of opportunities for his teammates that people tend to forget what a good shooter he is. 2014 was his eighth 30-goal season in the NLL. It’s a shame that he will miss the 2015 season after shoulder surgery because not only is he one of the best players in the game, he’s one of the best people, too. He’s always available and affable with the media after a game, whether it’s been good, bad or ugly. Doyle embraced a complementary role with the Six Nations Chiefs in the summer behind Cody Jamieson and Jeff Shattler and proved that he can still be an effective point producer and leader, a trait that bodes well for his future in Toronto when he returns in 2016 and beyond.” – Stephen Stamp
“If Priolo had a breakout season in 2013, when he was named a finalist for NLL defensive player of the year for the first time, he absolutely exploded in 2014. Priolo makes great use of his size and strength to be an intimidating and effective defender. Last year he also showed that he can produce at the other end of the floor, more than tripling his previous career high with 26 points. He has a creative streak in transition that helps to produce scoring chances for himself and others. Still, defence remains his first priority and he plays consistently well in his own zone.” – Stephen Stamp
“Curtis Knight is the kinda guy that has teams looking back at drafts a few years past wishing they had picked him sooner. For Knight, his Junior coach and Rush head coach knew just what he was getting, or did he? I don’t think even Derek Keenan expected all this consistent production out of Knight two years into his NLL career and only 22 years old. Knight is one of the finest complementary players in the circuit with his timely goals and big plays in the alleys and the corners. There are reasons for Edmonton’s total dominance and No. 9 has been a main factor.” – Marty O’Neill
“A lot of things didn’t go well in Vancouver last season and Richards’ numbers reflected that he didn’t get the support he’s used to from the Stealth defence. But Richards is an elite goalie who should bounce back and have a solid year in 2015. He has excellent positioning and moves well in his crease, so he can take away angles or make the acrobatic save, whatever is needed.” – Stephen Stamp
The 2015 NLL regular season, the 29th year of pro indoor lacrosse featuring the world’s best players, opens the weekend of January 2-3 with NLL Face Off Weekend 2015 presented by New Era.