All season we’ve tracked the top National Lacrosse League (NLL) rookies. In the end though, what matters is cracking a spot on the NLL All-Rookie Team. Only one player will be named Rookie of the Year (unless there are co-winners). Six players will make the NLL All-Rookie Team. Here are your NLL Insider picks.
2009 NLL Insider All-Rookie Team
Rhys Duch, San Jose F
Daryl Veltman, Boston F
Kevin Buchanan, Minnesota F
Stephen Peyser, New York T
Jon Harnett, Boston D
Tyler Richards, San Jose G
These are the top six vote getters amongst the seven staff members in our regular NLL Insider staff pick ‘ems group. There are no positional requirements for the Team, but as it worked out, our squad features three forwards, a tranny, defender and ‘tender:
Rhys Duch (16gp, 35g, 54a, 89 points, 97 lbs)
The odds on fave for Rookie of the Year (ROY) after his record breaking season, Teddy Jenner says it’d be a farce if Rhys didn’t take home the ROY hardware. Duch had an exceptional year for the Stealth, finishing seventh overall in league scoring. He was the league’s ‘Rookie of the Month’ winner in March and has been outstanding down the stretch. Among the league’s Top 25 scorers, he also has the fourth-best shooting percentage behind only JT, CP and Jordan Hall (who was last year’s fave for ROY).
Daryl Veltman (15gp, 34g, 43a, 77 points, 92 lbs)
The number one overall pick in the last NLL Entry Draft, Daryl Veltman did not disappoint in ‘09. He led Boston in goals scored and helped the young expansion franchise clinch a playoff seed. Even with the game he missed due to illness, DV was in on 43% of the Blazers’ goals this season. Veltman also became the first player since ’06 to win consecutive ‘NLL Rookie of the Month’ awards, doing so early in January and February.
“It is great knowing that the future stars of the NLL have already arrived in Rhys and Daryl,” added potential league MVP, Dan Dawson. Duch and Veltman finished Top 10 in league goal scoring. Buchanan also put up great per-game numbers.
Kevin Buchanan (11gp, 22g, 23a, 45 points, 58 lbs)
One of the league’s hottest players during the middle stretch of the season – putting up 27 points in just five games in late February and all of March – Buchanan was the best American rookie forward in this year’s star studded crop and third among all rookie scorers. He gave Minnesota a real boost after they inserted him into the line-up full-time, even while learning on the job. Minny has to be excited for what he can bring to the table in 2010.
Stephen Peyser (15gp, 1g, 17 points, 137 lbs, 239-370)
Peyser was the only rookie to play in the NLL All-Star game, also winning the league’s fastest shot competition by clocking a shot at 105 MPH. He was outstanding on draws, finishing second in the league for face-off wins. Peyser also contributed in transition while playing steady defense for the Eastern Division’s first-place team. An excellent athlete, Peyser should be a staple in the NLL for years to come.
Jon Harnett (16gp, 1g, 11 assists, 12 points, 106 lbs)
NLL Insider had Harnett ranked as a ‘Defender of the Year’ finalist last summer in Jr., and he has elevated his game to another level in the NLL. Very aggressive and active with his stick, Harnett has played great for a team that ranks second in the goals-against department. In our NLL Rookie Rankings, he has been the top ranked defender the entire second half of the season. “Hands down the best pure D rookie in 2009,” added Tutka.
Tyler Richards (10gp, 280min, 10 GAA, 192 SV, .80 SV%)
No rookie goaltender has been named All-Rookie since 2002, but Richards could change that in ‘09. He came off the bench in late March for summer teammate Matt Roik to capture a crucial win for SJ, and then won the next two games for San Jose as their starter. Over that three game win-streak that punched San Jose into the post-season, Richards posted an impressive .84 SV%. His overall save percentage is second-best in the league.
The following five players also received at least one vote for an NLL All-Rookie Team selection. Ranked in order of votes, starting with the most received:
Gary Bining, Boston F (15gp, 20g, 24a, 44 points, 49 lbs)
Paul Rabil, San Jose T (16gp, 16g, 18a, 34 points, 60 lbs)
Jordan Levine, Philadelphia T (16gp, 2g, 11a, 13 points, 92 lbs)
Jeff Gilbert, Toronto D (16gp, 2g, 9a, 11 points, 83 lbs)
Greg Downing, Boston T (14gp, 4a, 13a, 17 points, 95 lbs)
Bining finished fourth in rookie scoring after a great start that had him in ROY contention. Rabil tied for fourth overall in scoring amongst all transition players as he really picked up his play in the second half of the season. Levine was one of the league’s best surprise stories from the outset. Gilbert and Downing were steady all season, and two unsung rookies.
Dane Dobbie, Calgary F (16gp, 41g, 35a, 76 points, 83 lbs)
Although he’s technically not a rookie, Ty Pilson also wanted to highlight Dobbie’s season. Dane played in just five games last season as a rook and he finished third overall in league goal scoring this year.
Official NLL league awards will be announced throughout the 2009 playoffs, leading up to the Champion’s Cup Weekend of May 15-17.
Note: This artcle was up-dated with links on April 23.An All-America at Simon Fraser and a decorated Jr. A player for Coquitlam, Kojima began covering lacrosse in 2003 and started working for Inside Lacrosse in 2007. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.laxfuj.com.
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