NLL Fan Poll: Who’s your top choice for franchise defender?

Brett Mydske is one of the top young defenders in the game, but will you choose him to continue building your franchise? (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
Brett Mydske is one of the top young defenders in the game, but will you choose him to continue building your franchise? (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

You’ve chosen the goalie for your brand new franchise. Last week we asked you to pick the goaltender you would want if you were starting a franchise and could pick any player for each position. It was a tight three-way race. Tyler Richards received 220 votes and Evan Kirk got 236. But your choice, with 250 votes, is Tyler Carlson. Now that Carlson is installed in the net, let’s see who you want leading the group in front of him.

This week’s assignment is to select the young defender who you’d want to be the cornerstone out the back door for the team you’re putting together. If you thought it was tough choosing a goalie, wait till you see the stellar list of candidates who fit our rubric of being 25 or ¬†younger. Check them out and make your choice after the jump.

Derek Keenan was keen to improve the Edmonton Rush’s defense in the off-season. He certainly put together a strong group for the future of his team. Three Rush D are among our contenders and two of them joined the team this year.

Kyle Rubisch was added in the Blazers dispersal draft. After Philly took Dan Dawson with the first pick, Keenan snapped up Rubisch ahead of stars like Anthony Cosmo and Josh Sanderson. It’s not surprising when you consider that Rubisch is considered by many to be not just the best young defender in the league, but the best defender, period. Some, such as IL Indoor’s own Paul Stewart (in an exercise similar to this), would plump for him as the best player in the game overall.

Just before the dispersal draft, Keenan managed to pry Chris Corbeil away from the Buffalo Bandits for a pair of draft picks. In doing so he united a dynamic duo who are plenty familiar with each other. The pair played four years of Jr. A together with the Brampton Excelsiors then both graduated to the senior team in 2010. Last year, they won the World Indoor Lacrosse Championships as part of Team Canada then went on to take the Mann Cup. The struggles Buffalo is having on defense this year may speak to just how big a role Corbeil played there.

When Canada raised the WILC plaque, Brett Mydske was already part of the Rush back end. While he may not have as high a profile as his new teammates, Mydske is a staunch defender who seldom makes mistakes, just the kind of guy you want anchoring your defense.

Oddly enough, a third member of our half-dozen young defenders was moved in the off-season. Rory Smith was a bit of a surprise inclusion on Team Canada because he’d built his reputation primarily as a fighter and has been known to take bad penalties. He has yet to drop the mitts this season, though. Colorado Head Coach Bob Hamley said in last week’s coaches conference call that is by design because they think he’s one of the best defenders in the league and they want him on the floor, not in the penalty box. Smith leads the league in forced turnovers and was named a starter for the All-Star Game.

The remaining two defenders in our poll missed much of last season, for different reasons, and the difference they make to their teams becomes obvious when they return. Kyle Sorensen was recovering from knee surgery last year and didn’t get back until late in the year. His return was a critical element in the Stealth’s late-season success and run to a second straight Champions Cup final. He is one of the best leaders in the game and provides cohesion, athleticism and toughness to Washington’s defense.

Curtis Manning was healthy last year but couldn’t play because he was learning how to keep other people healthy. He made only two games in 2011 because of his medical school schedule, but is available for almost all of Calgary’s matches this year and has been arguably the best defender on a club that includes the likes of Andrew McBride and Mike Carnegie. He also brings a transition presence with 5 goals and 8 points in 9 games.

Any one of these young defenders would be a fine addition to your new team, but which one do you want to build the franchise around?

What defender would you choose if you were starting a new team?

  • Rory Smith (45%, 3,015 Votes)
  • Brett Mydske (32%, 2,145 Votes)
  • Chris Corbeil (15%, 1,009 Votes)
  • Kyle Sorensen (3%, 226 Votes)
  • Kyle Rubisch (3%, 200 Votes)
  • Curtis Manning (2%, 99 Votes)

Total Voters: 6,694

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Stamp is a TV sports announcer and lacrosse lover whose skill set made him a defender but who always dreamed of being a goal-scorer. He can be reached at stamplax@hotmail.com.

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