Everyone knows how strong U.S. born athletes are in field lacrosse, and there’s been a gradual increase of Americans succeeding at the indoor box game over recent years.
Strong defenders like Brett Manney, Mitch Belisle, and John Ranagan just missed this top four as these power rankings are not about the all-time resume, but what has been accomplished through the first five weeks of this National Lacrosse League season.
4. Kevin Buchanan – New England Black Wolves
Wine isn’t the only thing that gets better with age. At 30, Buchanan had his highest point total last season at 62. Now in his third campaign with the Black Wolves, the eight-year pro was struggling offensively, as was his entire team, until he broke out for a goal and three assists on Saturday against his former Buffalo club.
The Ohio State Buckeye alum continues to be a valuable utility attack piece no matter what team he suits up for. Buchanan has a knack for developing chemistry quickly with linemates. He combines the ability to be a scorer, distributor, effective on the power play, and doesn’t shy away from battling for possession.
3. Greg Downing – Colorado Mammoth
Downing might not show up on the score sheet that often, but he’s been one of the most consistent stay at home defenseman in the league over the past eight seasons.
Opponents always need to keep track of the veteran because of his ability to block shots and intercept passes. In fact, the former Fairfield University All-American’s 27 caused turnovers in 2016 were the most for any player in the NLL that missed at least one game (tied for seventh overall). Downing is on pace to shatter that number, already at 10 CTOs through five games.
2. Tom Schreiber – Toronto Rock
The Toronto Rock took a chance this offseason by bringing into the NLL a pair of star field players that had not played the indoor lacrosse style at a professional level. One of them was 2016 Major League Lacrosse (MLL) MVP Tom Schreiber.
Over Toronto’s three outings the 24-year-old out of Princeton University looks like he’s been playing box lacrosse his whole life. Schreiber’s already established himself as one of the Rock’s premier set-up men with 10 assists, however, it’s his powerful shot and quick release that makes him a complete offensive threat.
The East Meadow, NY native almost always tries to pass first, but in the loss to Rochester Schreiber buried a pair that forced the Knighthawks’ stingy defense to take notice and adjust. If he can get comfortable pulling the trigger more often, then Toronto could have themselves a truly special attacker.
1. Joe Resetarits – Rochester Knighthawks
It’s only fitting that Resetarits is first on this power rankings list as the top scoring American in the NLL. Ranked 27th in league scoring (14-points), he’s been a key cog in Rochester’s inconsistent start to the season.
Working through injuries and an influx of rookies, the Knighthawks are able to lean on this 5’11”, 188 pound forward when necessary. The sixth overall pick in the 2012 NLL Draft is a buzzsaw with or without the ball. He’s always on the move with the ability to create scoring chances for his teammates, draw in defenders, and shoot from anywhere on the floor.
Honorable Mention: Kieran McArdle – Toronto Rock
Andy McNamara has been a play-by-play commentator for the NLL on TSN, NLLTV.com, and world lacrosse tournaments since 2011. He’s also a sport talk host and anchor on TSN 1050 sports radio. Follow Andy on twitter @AndyMc81.