Welcome to the Lax All Stars 2021 PLL Rookie Spotlights series!
The PLL College Draft was held April 26, introducing 32 players into the PLL fold. The league’s training camp is set for May 28 through June 3 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, to determine the final rosters of the eight teams for the 2021 campaign.
Not all 32 of these players will make a team, but right now, the dream is alive for them all. We’re counting down the days until the PLL opens up its training camp by delving deep into every player selected in the 2021 PLL College Draft, with two players included in each post, with help from Ryder Cochrane, Ryan Conwell, Nick Zoroya, and Nick Pietras.
Next up: Ryan Tierney and Tre Leclaire.
2021 PLL Rookie Spotlights: Ryan Tierney & Tre Leclaire
Who drafted him & when: Ryan Tierney was selected No. 16 overall (Round 2, Pick 8) by Whipsnakes LC.
Is this about where he was expected to go? Sure. Honestly, it’s a little hard to gauge Ryan Tierney’s draft stock. He was probably a fourth rounder before this year, but he’s been rocketing up boards based on his extremely good 2021 season. He’s the all-time goals leader for Hofstra, with 164 goals and 87 career assists.
What are the main skills he brings to the table? General offensive firepower. This is a guy who Paul Carcaterra had ranked as the 10th-best prospect in late March. He racked up insane production to start off the season, and he’s probably a Tewaaraton finalist if not for Hofstra’s mid-season battle with COVID delays. Ryan Tierney has been The Guy at Hofstra for years. He’s a very capable offensive QB who can attack from anywhere (although he’s particularly deadly on the wings), find the open man if one develops, and score in a variety of ways. I’m not sure that he’ll be an elite two-point threat, but he strikes me as a guy who might have the range to bury one or two from deep, too.
Tierney is a classic pro breakout guy. In the mold of Kieran McArdle before him, I can see Tierney developing into an All-Star quality attackman and a legitimate offensive weapon for the Whipsnakes. Which should be terrifying, given their current attack group.
How’s the fit? Man, talk about a luxury pick. The Whipsnakes are coming off a Championship Series in which they went undefeated and won their second-straight title. Now, an attack line that already features reigning MVP Zed Williams and former MVP Matt Rambo could also swap out Jay Carlson (at times) with Ryan Tierney.
To begin his career in the pros, this should make it so much easier for Tierney to make an impact. While he might have to run some out of the box, like Brad Smith before him, he’ll go from being the main focus of every defensive game plan to dealing with the third pole and potentially slower slides to boot. Given that situation, I wouldn’t be shocked if Tierney puts up 20-plus goals in year one.
Who’s the competition & what are the odds he makes the team? Ryan Tierney probably makes the team. If not, he’s certainly good trade bait. It comes down to system fit. Tierney has been playing as the lead guy for years. He’ll have to prove he can play off-ball more and gel with Zed and Rambo. That said, I fully expect him to make the team and get runs at both attack and middie, a la Brad Smith.
School: Ohio State
Who drafted him & when: Tre Leclaire was selected No. 13 overall (Round 2, Pick 5) by Archers LC.
Is this about where he was expected to go: It’s the tiniest bit lower than expected. No. 13 overall is a good draft slot, but I had Tre Leclaire as a back-end first rounder in a lot of my mock drafts. I’m a big believer in the giant Canadian.
What are the main skills he brings to the table: Tre Leclaire is a monster. At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, he’s a thick, physical player with the box lacrosse chops to have also been selected No. 4 overall in the NLL Draft. As the all-time leading scorer for the Buckeyes, Leclaire’s primary offensive skill will be his firepower. He’s got legitimate two-point range with a cannon of a step down shot. He’s also played both attack and midfield for Ohio State, so he brings a nice positional flexibility to the Archers. He also, like Jeff Teat, already has experience against these types of players, as Leclaire played in the 2018 World Games with Team Canada, putting up three goals and an assist while just 20 years old at the time.
How’s the fit: Nearly perfect. I think Chaos would’ve been the perfect fit given its tendency to play box-style, but Archers is a close second. Tre Leclaire has been poled his whole career. That won’t happen with Tom Schreiber on the field. Given the insane number of quality attackmen now on this Archers roster, I’d expect Leclaire to almost exclusively play midfield, but that’s fine. He’ll start off getting short-sticked, and there aren’t too many SSDMs who can stick with him on a sweep. He’ll also share a space with Schreiber and Grant Ament, two of the best passers in the league, looking to feed him, meaning he can use his box background to find open lanes and get opportunities to fire off from deep.
Who’s the competition & what are the odds he makes the team: He’ll make the team. Tre Leclaire is probably the second-best offensive middie on this team if he develops to his full potential. He might cede playing time to guys like Ryan Ambler and Christian Mazzone early, but I’d expect Leclaire to become a closing six guy sooner rather than later. He’s just too talented and too physically gifted not to see the field.
More PLL Rookie Spotlights
There will be plenty of PLL Rookie Spotlights to check out between now and the start of training camp. You can find information about the incoming rookie class here.