While NLL Face Off Weekend 2015 provided us with a first glance of revamped rosters, none were more new than the rookies who hit the turf for their National Lacrosse League debuts in Week 1. Bob Chavez ranks the top 10 rookie performances during opening weekend, including the highly-anticipated first games for Jerome and Miles Thompson, on Inside Lacrosse.
1. Miles Thompson (Minnesota): It wasn’t the debut the Swarm wanted as a team on Saturday night, but they couldn’t ask for much more from their right-handed forward out of Onondaga Nation. The No. 3 overall draft pick scored 3 goals, assisted on 1, scooped 6 loose balls and forced 2 turnovers in a home loss to Colorado. If you’re a fan in Swarm territory, you have no excuse for not seeing him play. If the Swarm are coming to your NLL city, make the time to attend. This kid’s for real.
2. Ben McIntosh (Edmonton): The Rush were getting their 2015 season started with heavy hearts after the death of the wife of coach and general manager Derek Keenan. But the No. 1 overall draft pick, a right-hander out of Port Coquitlam, was solid in his NLL debut. He scored 3 goals in Edmonton’s road loss to Buffalo on Saturday night.
3. Quinn Powless (New England): The Black Wolves had the stage to themselves on Friday night in the debut of their new home with new fans, and the right-handed forward out of Ohsweken did everything he could to help the Black Wolves send their new fans home happy. He had 1 goal and 2 assists along with 3 loose balls in the win over Buffalo.
4. Jerome Thompson (Buffalo): The left-handed forward out of Nedrow, N.Y., was originally drafted by Buffalo in 2011 but didn’t make the team. It’s 4 years later and while he was a healthy scratch for Friday’s road opener, he was in the lineup for Saturday’s home win over Edmonton. He contributed 2 assists and 2 loose balls in the win.
5. Robert Hope (Colorado): The Mammoth revamped their defense for 2015 and figured on this left-handed defenseman out of Peterborough on being a big part of it. He was, and it showed with the team’s effort on Saturday in Minnesota. Hope scooped 6 loosies in the road win over the Swarm.
6. Mark White (Toronto): The right-handed transition man out of Oakville had 1 assist and 3 loose balls in Saturday’s road win over defending champion Rochester.
7. Eli McLaughlin (Colorado): He didn’t score any goals, but the left-handed forward out of Surrey, B.C., was involved plenty with 2 assists and 4 loosies in Saturday’s road win over Minnesota.
8. Brandon Goodwin (Buffalo): The team’s top draft pick played in both games over the weekend and had a total of 1 loose ball. But the left-handed transition man out of New Westminster, B.C., was part of a defense that regrouped well after allowing 12 goals to New England: Buffalo held a strong Edmonton offense to just 8 goals in Saturday’s win.
9. William O’Brien (New England): The right-handed defenseman out of Syracuse was a solid part of the back end for New England on Friday, scooping 5 loose balls in a home win over Buffalo.
10. Sam Bradman (Minnesota): The right-handed transition man out of Canton, N.Y. had 1 loose ball in Saturday’s home loss to Colorado.