Earlier this week, we revealed a small handful of games we were looking forward to this coming season. Given the size of the league there isn’t much room for an extensive schedule breakdown. However, we can still confidently say one team has the most difficult slate in the league.
The Chrome are facing an uphill battle this summer.
They finished with the worst record, the worst scoring offense, and worst scoring differential in the league.
Jordan Wolf and Randy Staats were both lost to injury. For Staats, this was his third ACL injury. Neither currently appear on the Chrome roster on the PLL website.
JT Giles Harris never took the field either due to injury.
Face off man Connor Farrell finished with a 48% rate.
John Galloway retired. Joel White retired.
As we move towards the spring season, they’ll have one of the older midfield cores in the league if not the oldest. John Ranagan is 30, Jordan MacIntosh is 32, and Ned Crotty is 35. Ranagan and MacIntosh are busy logging heavy minutes in the NLL. Crotty is no longer a volunteer assistant at Duke.
Will former Connecticut Hammerheads goalie Sean Sconone get the nod between the pipes?
Is Dylan Molloy your alpha on offense assuming Staats and Wolf don’t return to full strength? What if they do return at full strength? Are you going to lower Molloy’s usage rate? He chipped in 10 points in 3 appearances. He still has to be furious with how he was treated by the league. No one will be more motivated heading in 2022.
With two key players retiring and the chance of multiple players returning from injury, this roster has very limited chemistry. They are essentially an expansion team with a glaring deficiency at the faceoff X and an unknown in net. Sconone was awesome in the MLL, but the depth of offensive talent in the PLL is a far different creature.
Where is the breathing room in this schedule?
Week 1 – Archers
Yes, the Chrome did win this matchup 8-7 for their first win of the season in 2021. However, opening the season against a team with more knowns is not where you want to be if you’re the Chrome. They would have much rather faced the Cannons who are beginning life after Rabil. The Archers will know exactly who they are
Week 2 – Redwoods
The Redwoods have TD Ierlan, a more organized defense to slow down an offense that will still be finding their way, Perk and Jones raining two bombs against an unproven netminder and…TD Ierlan.
Week 3 – Waterdogs
Casual week 3 match up against a team that outscored you 26-15. And, you’ll have to defend Michael Sowers.
Week 4 – Cannons
Gotta win this game, right? The Cannons without Rabil may be the most interesting team to follow. Imagine being thankful you don’t have to deal with Sowers for a month only to discover Lyle Thompson is waiting for you.
Week 5 – Atlas
If the Atlas goaltending issue has been sorted out by now, this won’t be close. The Chrome defense is in a torture chamber now. Sowers, Lyle, Jeff Teat.
Week 6 – Bye Week
A perfect moment in the season for a bye. Do you try to stop the bleeding or fully tank?
Week 7 – Waterdogs
Okay, maybe after a week to recover, and maybe after six weeks of figuring out who you are this game is a little closer than their first meeting.
Week 8 – Whipsnakes
After an embarrassing title game defeat, the Whips will be hungry in 2022, but will they be healthy at this point in the year. The only thing these two teams have in common is uncertainty in net. If the Whips return to 2020 Bubble Whips instead of the 2021 Whips who lost 16-6 to this Chrome outfit, you have a recipe for an easy Whips victory.
Week 9 – Chaos
Bubble Chaos played possum. They got off to a slow start in 2021 before stepping on the league’s throat. Having to play them as they prepare for their post season run is not ideal.
Week 10 – Cannons
They’ll win this rematch. Both teams will be out of the title hunt. There will be enough offensive talent and chemistry by this point of the season to outscore the Cannons.
Week 11 – Redwoods
You’ll be facing a team fighting for playoff positioning. This doesn’t end well unless a loss allows them to have a more favorable first round match up. Given that the Woods are not the Chaos, we do not envision a world where they are vanilla heading into the elimination round.
The Chrome are in for a long 2022 campaign. They need to upgrade their midfield, find average to above average specialty position play, and keep their athletes healthy in order to build towards a more positive 2023.