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Building a winning roster with the players left off the PLL top 50

Dan Arestia creates a roster using players not ranked in the PLL Top 50.

The PLL recently released their list of the Top 50 players in the league. The list is the result of exclusively PLL player voting. As is the custom when anyone releases any list of any kind, the internet must descend to point out just how incredibly wrong it is in the least constructive way imaginable. As the PLL released the list, five players at a time, and then counting down the top ten, the Twitter replies and Instagram comments from the “whatabout brigade” came fast and furious. I myself began to wonder, just how good of a team could you build of players outside the PLL top 50? 

The players in the Top 50 are remarkably good players. The guys outside the Top 50 are too. That’s the fun here; the league is loaded. Being regarded as a Top 50 caliber player, particularly by your peers, is quite an honor. The PLL All-Star game had 44 players. The players outside the top 50 are still really good, the same way lots of really good players weren’t all-stars. A quick scan of who was available led me to the roster below. 

A few qualifiers: I made the team as a 25 player active roster. I didn’t really give particular regard to position breakdown, righty/lefty, etc. but tried at a basic level to field a balanced competitive team. 

Goalie

Adam Ghitelman (Archers)
Drew Adams (Archers)

Just take the pair from the Archers who were absolutely incredible as the season wore on. This was easy.

Defense

Jackson Place (Archers)
Eddy Glazener (Redwoods)
Cade Van Raaphorst (Atlas)
Jack Rowlett (Chaos)
Mike Manley (Chrome)

Place was 4th in the league in the regular season in caused turnovers. Rowlett 7th. Van Raaphorst 8th. Glazener’s ability as a communicator and field general has been well documented in film study and as acknowledged by teammates. This unit is incredibly sound off-ball and punishes any mistakes with a takeaway.

LSM

John Sexton (Redwoods)
Brian Karalunas (Redwoods)
Noah Richard (Atlas)

Oh hey, it’s John Sexton, another caused turnover machine! This is a group that is able to push transition, play well on wings, and is a threat the score on their own. Richard hit a two this year, and both Sexton and Karalunas had a decent number of points.

Midfield

Ben McIntosh (Archers)
Joel Tinney (Atlas)
John Ranagan (Chrome)
Romar Dennis (Chrome)
Ryan Conrad (Atlas)
John Haus (Whipsnakes)
Deemer Class (Chaos)

*Stefon voice* This group has EVERYTHING. Two way threats, two-bombers, physical dodgers, Canadians, and athletes that can go around, over, and through a defender. This is a group that can dominate wings on faceoffs and between the lines, and can present match up issues for teams in the 6v6 with power and dodging ability.

SSDM

Mark Glicini (Chaos)
Pat Harbeson (Redwoods)

Glicini plays like a wild man. Stepping in front of shots, even with no stick, and of course playing solid defense, so he’ll fit in great with the rest of the defense in this group. There were two non-faceoff midfielders with more ground balls than Harbeson during the regular season last year. He’s another of those fill the book middies, and had a few goals for the Redwoods as well. Jack Near narrowly misses the midfield group for me too.

Faceoff

Connor Farrell (Chrome)
Tommy Kelly (Chaos)

Farrell was second in the league in faceoff percentage, Kelly was fourth.  The best FOGO scoring threats aren’t available (Nardella and Baptiste), so this is a fairly quick and easy call. 

Attack

Miles Thompson (Chaos)
Ben Reeves (Whipsnakes)
Christian Cuccinello (Archers)
Joey Sankey (Archers)

This is a testament to how skilled and deep the attack is in the PLL. This is the caliber of players you get, and the Top 50 has 13 attackmen in it. Half the Top 10 is attackmen and yet the non-top 50 squad still gets two Tewaaraton winners in Thompson and Reeves. Cuccinello came into his own as the Archers figured out their attack and started to shine late in the year. The same is true of Sankey after coming over from the Redwoods via trade, although he primarily played at midfield so I’m cheating a bit by listing him at attack. Chris Cloutier and Wes Berg are also considerations here though both had more limited roles on their squads.

Overall the players outside the Top 50 are more of a testament to the PLL’s talent than those who ranked in the Top 50. And judging by the 25-man roster I constructed, there’s plenty of quality players up and down the league that the seventh PLL team will be able to choose from in the expansion draft this spring.

Dan Arestia is a lacrosse fanatic first, writer second. He is a frequent contributor to Lacrosse Playground and has been published on College Crosse and Inside Lacrosse.

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