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: Tanner Cook and Kyle Gallagher.
2021 PLL Rookie Spotlights: Tanner Cook & Kyle Gallagher
School: North Carolina
Who drafted him & when: Tanner Cook was selected No. 15 overall (Round 2, Pick 7) by Chaos.
Is this about where he was expected to go: This seems entirely reasonable, especially when you remember that Tanner Cook is Canadian and this is Chaos we’re talking about.
What are the main skills he brings to the team: All of them? That’s a bit hyperbolic, but Tanner Cook is a well-balanced (22G, 9A) midfielder on the offensive side of the ball who can probably take some D runs if needed. He’s a big, bruising middie with great stick skills and a nose for the ball. The comp is a little too obvious considering UNC and thicc Canadian, but his offensive game reminds me of Chris Cloutier. Fitting, as they’re about to be teammates.
How’s the fit: Fantastic. Tanner Cook is such an obvious Chaos guy that I’m surprised he wasn’t automatically slotted on to the Chaos squad. Cook is yet another smart, physical box player who should fit in perfectly with the All-NLL roster that Coach Towers is building. He can dodge to score or to feed from up top and should develop good chemistry with the guys around him. A potential midfield line of Cook, Dhane Smith, and Austin Staats has me salivating already to see who has enough physicality in their SSDMs to stop them.
Who’s the competition & what are the odds they make the team: Tanner Cook will make the team. He’s probably not a guy who will instantly break out as a household name, but I think he has the potential to have a similar level of impact for Chaos as Deemer Class did in 2019. He won’t be the best midfielder Chaos has at any one thing, but he’s well-balanced and can provide help in multiple ways. I’d expect him to start the year off as a second-line offensive midfielder and maybe a man-up guy, but he has the talent to turn that into a first-line gig if the season goes as planned for him.
School: Notre Dame
Position: Faceoff Specialist
Who drafted him & when: Kyle Gallagher was selected No. 14 overall (Round 2, Pick 6) by Chaos.
Is this about where he was expected to go: It’s a little high for Kyle Gallagher, but with TD Ierlan already off the board, any team looking for faceoff help was going to have to reach some.
What are the main skills he brings to the team: Kyle Gallagher is one of the best faceoff guys in this draft class. He led the nation in ground balls per game in the shortened 2020 season while still playing at Penn. In 2019, his last full season with the Quakers, he set Penn’s single-season faceoff wins record, as well as posting the 16th-most wins and 16th-most ground balls by a DI player in a season ever.
How’s the fit: Well, that sort of depends. The nice thing about faceoff guys is that they generally fit into whatever system they’re going to. Chaos was one of the worst teams at the faceoff X in 2020. Despite that, it made the final. With a better faceoff game and more possessions, it’s entirely possible that Chaos could be elite. With that said…
Who’s the competition & what are the odds he makes the team: …it’s a little weird that Chaos chose to spend its second-round pick on a faceoff guy when it’d just spent its first round Entry Draft selection on Max Adler. Sure, Chaos turns a weakness into a strength, but it feels like Kyle Gallagher was a guy who could’ve gotten a shot to be The Guy. Instead, he almost certainly starts his PLL career as Adler’s backup and a rotational player for Chaos. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s a little odd to spend such a high pick on a rotational guy.
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.