When it was announced that the LXM PRO and the MLL would partner up, and that players from both camps could now play in both leagues, there was a lot of talk of who could “make the jump” to Major League Lacrosse. A range of opinions were offered as analysts tried to decide who could cut the mustard, and guesses ranged from up to 6 players to as many as 20.
Now that we’re two weeks into the 2014 MLL season, it’s time to take a look at who made the jump, who looks like they will be around for a while, and who needs to step up their game if they want to keep their roster spot. I was guessing we’d get 10+ guys. Let’s see how things measured up.
Who Made The Transition
We have a good deal of LXM guys making rosters. It’s more than six, but it’s not double digits either. Here is the most complete list we could come up with so far:
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Brendan Porter (Boston), Shamel Bratton (New York), Peter Baum (Ohio), Kyle Harrison (Ohio), Erik Krum (Ohio), Sam Bradman (Rochester), Steve Ianzito (Rochester), Pierce Bassett (Charlotte), Davey Emala (Charlotte)
At the end of the day, 9 guys are either playing for, or sniffing time with, MLL teams. At first this seems like an insignificant number, but considering you’re only drawing from two teams of 17 guys, 9 out of 34, or roughly 26%, it’s actually pretty solid. Clearly my 10+ idea was foolish, but such is life. I can admit when I’m wrong.
Who Is Looking Good?
Shamel Bratton has been solid for New York, and he provides a dangerous and much needed spark for the Lizards by playing D-middie. Pierce Bassett has saved 53% of the shots faced, and while Adam Ghitelman will return as the starter, he’s a great back up, and doing well in his first MLL action. Stephen Ianzito has been good for Rochester, though as a D-mid, and could continue to see good time.
Kyle Harrison is ripping it up so far. He has six points (on 5 goals and 1 helper) which puts him in 12th for league scoring. Harrison has taken 14 shots, and put 50% of those on cage, scoring on 5 of those 7. If he keeps that up, it’s going to be a good year. Peter Baum also has six points in two games on 2 goals and 4 helpers. Baum isn’t shooting as well as K18, but he is distributing like crazy, and that makes him a definite keeper. Erik Krum is also playing for Ohio, and has seen time in 2 games, scoring 1 goal on 2 shots. He can work the crease, and as this team gels, expect him to score more Gs.
Who Needs To Step It Up?
Davey Emala has yet to see a game for Charlotte. Brendan Porter has yet to see any time for Boston, but he definitely could in the near future, as D-mid is a huge position for them.
Sam Bradman has played in 2 games, taken 4 shots, put 2 on cage and registered no points and only 1 GB. Bradman will need to step it up quickly for Rochester, and start producing ASAP, like we all think he can.
Guys Who Still Intrigue Me
There are a number of LXM guys who either didn’t get a look, or didn’t want to play, but I still think a couple of them have potential.
Johnny Christmas has still got it, and could be a good 4th attackman for a number of teams, offering a nice change of pace. I like Matt Russell’s game in goal, and know he could still be a top stopper, but he did retire… so WHAT? Hasn’t stopped other guys before. Brian Kelly and Matt Drennan still have potential to me as poles for MLL teams. Benson Erwin is still a tough D-mid. I’m surprised he’s not on Ohio to be honest. Brandon Corp is diverse in his skill set, and makes for a good A/M. Graham Gill is still one of my favorite middies. I also think Whit McCarthy has athleticism people continue to look over.
Keep an eye on these guys, and see if they progress as the season rolls on. THEN, keep an eye out for next year’s LXM rosters. How many MLL guys will now make THAT jump? My gut says more than 9, but I’m not 100% sold on that. We’ll have to wait and see…