Major League Lacrosse is set to descend on Annapolis, Maryland on July 18 to kick off their 20th season in a tournament format. Pro Lacrosse Talk is covering every team and how they’ll measure up in Maryland.
The 2020 Denver Outlaws team is ready to prove that despite losing superstars Dillon Ward and Zach Currier, they are more than capable of making it back to the championship game. One major advantage Denver has is that they return a league high number of players, and the best player in league history, John Grant Jr.
Even with the departure of Currier, the team is absolutely loaded on offense. Look to Mikie Schlosser (17 goals, 6 assists in 2019) to lead the midfield as he becomes THE main guy between the lines. The attack returns Chris Aslanian (22 goals, 20 assists in 2019), John Grant Jr. (21 goals, 18 assists in 2019) and Ryan Lee (38 goals, 1 2pt. goal, 7 assists in 2019), and expect big things out of Dan Bucaro who missed the 2019 season due to an injury.
While the absence of Currier as face off wing will be felt, Max Adler will surely find a way around that void and continue his excellent work adding important possessions for the Outlaws. Adler remains the top faceoff guy in the league rivaled by only Alex Woodall and is sure to help Denver play make it, take it against most of the teams they face.
There’s no way around this, the defense, led by new defensive coordinator Ken Clausen, will go through some growing pains as they figure out who will replace Dillon Ward (G), Eli Gobrecht (D) and Finn Sullivan (D). The goalie race will be tight but one person who is expected to make an immediate impact on defense is the recently approved addition of Tom Rigney to the bubble roster.
Most Intriguing Matchup
Outlaws vs Barrage, July 19
The Outlaws have three games to dial in their defense before they play the reining champion Bayhawks on July 22 (7pm ET on ESPN+), and it is sure to be a thrilling rematch of last year’s title game, as well as a potential preview for a playoff matchup. Yet, the most intriguing matchup could be between the top two faceoff specialists in the league Max Adler and Philadelphia’s Alex Woodall. Look for these two to grind it out all game when the Outlaws take on the Barrage on July 19 at 4pm ET on ESPN 2. It will certainly be must see television.
Players to Watch
Make no mistake, with Adler working the middle of the field the Outlaws will play a lot of offense, and they will score goals. The real question is, can the defense gel quickly enough to slow other teams down? If the defense can find a leader down low they will be fine, as SSDM Charlie Hayes is one of the best in the league and will take some pressure off of the poles.
The Denver Outlaws have high expectations for their first round pick and his last-minute addition to the active roster is a big one. Look for the 2020 Army West Point captain to take an active leadership role on the Outlaws defense that will have to come together quickly during this week-long season.