IL Indoor continues countdown of the best lacrosse players on the planet
With the 2015 NLL season now less than two months away, IL Indoor continues their annual countdown of the Top 50 players in the National Lacrosse League. The second installment highlights players ranked #31-40 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. Check back to follow the countdown all the way to No. 1.
40) Tyler Hass – Vancouver Stealth
“It’s funny how two-way players are now the craze, like it’s something new. But it’s old-school lacrosse all the way when it comes to Hass, who holds it down at both ends of the floor. Size in any sport can give you obvious advantages, but moreso when you know what to do with it. Hass is just that, using his ability and size to make himself into one of the most dangerous transition men in the game today.” – Bob Chavez
39) Cory Vitarelli – Rochester Knighthawks
“The embodiment of an outstanding complementary player, Vitarelli will do the work that needs to be done to make an offence successful. He’s tenacious at recovering loose balls to provide second-chance offensive opportunities, he’ll bang around to open up space for his teammates, and he is an excellent shooter when his chances arise. You can pencil the 29-year-old in for 20-plus goals and 60-plus loose balls before the season starts. ” – Stephen Stamp
38) Rob Hellyer – Toronto Rock
“Hellyer patiently worked his way into the mix in Toronto since his draft but the Billings injury thrust him into a full time role which made a world of difference in the confidence and point production from this Orangeville Jr. A product. The Rock have a young guy in Hellyer that has years to contribute and grow into a high end NLL sniper displayed by the tear he was on at the end of 2014.” – Marty O’Neill
37) Dan MacRae – Calgary Roughnecks
“MacRae is one of those energy players who can break a game open with hits or speed and a nose for transition. Quickly, McRae has locked down his role as a marquee player in Cowtown in his 4 year NLL stint. Dan has made himself a presence on special teams as well as his regular defensive shifts for Calgary as his playing time equals his value to the Red and Black.” – Marty O’Neill
36) Jordan MacIntosh – Minnesota Swarm
“MacIntosh is so fluid on the floor and makes it all look so easy. He’s so effective at either end and does plenty of work in between, which pretty much explains his consecutive Transition Player of the Year awards. He’s all-around, he’s solid and he’s young, which means there’s much more, and much better lacrosse to expect from MacIntosh in the years to come.” – Bob Chavez
35) Jeremy Thompson – Edmonton Rush
“2014 was a breakout season for Thompson, who had been on the verge of being an impact player for his first two seasons in the league. The most noticeable change was his faceoff work. He went from being well below .500 his first two years to a 54% success rate last year. That was emblematic of increased confidence all over the floor. Thompson uses his speed and stick skills to good effect both on defence and in putting pressure on the other team’s reverse transition. He showed that he won’t back down from anyone when he traded blows with Calgary faceoff man Geoff Snider and held his own in the confrontation.” – Stephen Stamp
34) Sid Smith – Rochester Knighthawks
“He’s not fancy or flashy, but he gets the job done and that’s all that’s asked of any defenseman. There’s no doubt he’s among the elite, using his footwork to keep himself in the right positions and using his voice and body language to keep Rochester’s defensive unit on the same page. Take your eyes off of everyone else in a Knighthawks uniform sometime to watch Smith and you’ll see defense the way it’s supposed to be played.” – Bob Chavez
33) Brandon Miller – Toronto Rock
“Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but how cool is it to see veterans crack this list in a game that’s so often dominated by young legs? Miller’s long had the skill as one of the game’s best keepers, but now he’s got the veteran presence and experience to know how valuable it is to keep his cool and be a steady force for his team. It’s a deadly combination and Miller’s poised for some fantastic lacrosse in front of him.” – Bob Chavez
32) Brett Mydske – Edmonton Rush
“Mydske is the third guy in Edmonton and that doesn’t quite equate to the recognition for the team’s defensive success that Rubisch and Corbeil get, so it is good to see him make the top 50 this year. A beast in the back end who can transition and make plays is what Mydske has on display every winter in Edmonton. His man-down play is rock solid and this season should be a breakout year.” – Marty O’Neill
31) Johnny Powless – Vancouver Stealth
“If you’ve paid any sort of attention to box lacrosse the past few years, you are well aware of what Powless brings. He’s slippery, he’s accurate and unselfish. He also added a bit of grit to his game this past winter, showing he’s not afraid to mix it up to protect himself. He’s not a Pup anymore.” – Bob Chavez
Click the link for each player for the full story on IL Indoor and find the first installment of the countdown below.
NLL Top 50 Players: #41-50
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.