Every team in the PLL is loaded with talent, but over the past four years, the Archers have been one of the more disappointing teams compared to the rest of the league. They have always been considered a title contender since the PLL’s inaugural season, but they have failed to live up to expectations and have had some pretty disappointing playoff performances.
After an off-season where some franchise cornerstones moved on to new teams, the Archers have been forced to retool on the fly. Without the big names and high expectations, are the Archers being overlooked in 2023?
Their 2022 season fell short yet again as they lost another heartbreaker to the Chaos. That loss to Chaos finished off a season where the Archers never played to their full potential. Will Manny started the season off hot while Grant Ament was injured. When Ament returned, it was apparent he wasn’t 100%, and the offense was inconsistent because of it. With all the disappointments over the years, It felt like the final chapter for this iteration of the Archers.
During the off-season, the Archers saw Will Manny, Marcus Holman, Adam Ghitelman, and Jeff Trainor leave via free agency, while Dominique Alexander and Scott Ratliff retired. The Archers had some big shoes to fill. They went out and signed Mac O’Keefe, Challen Rogers, and retained vital pieces like Tre LeClaire, Latrell Harris, and Ryan Aughavin. Even with the players they signed, it still doesn’t replace the leadership and hall-of-fame talent they lost.
In the draft, Archers finally addressed their gaping hole at the face-off, drafting Mike Sisselberger with the fifth pick and added some defense with their final three picks. They also decided to turn to their goalie of the future, Brett Dobson, to be the full-time starter. If the Archers can get better production from those three areas, it will take more pressure off the offense and make life easier for Ament and company.
Speaking of Ament, having him healthy to start the season will be a massive boost for the Archers. Ament is easily one of the top players in the league, but he wasn’t able to showcase his talent consistently due to injuries last year. If he can stay healthy, he should easily be a top-five player again and reason enough for the Archers to be a dangerous team.
The off-season changes may prove too much, or people may still expect postseason failures. Whatever it is, it seems like the Archers are the forgotten contender heading into the season. If the Archers can stay healthy, this group might be able to finally slay their postseason demons and finally claim their first PLL Championship.