ILIndoor’s Top 40: Josh Sanderson #23

Toronto forward Josh Sanderson, left, is getting ready for his 16th season as one of the best in the NLL. (Photo: Graig Abel)
Toronto forward Josh Sanderson, left, is getting ready for his 16th season as one of the best in the NLL. (Photo: Graig Abel)

The numbers were down again for Josh Sanderson in 2012, but does that mean he’s not a great player? Of course not. Sure, he carded “just” 64 points in his first National Lacrosse League season back with the Toronto Rock since 2008, but the left-handed forward had plenty of talent to share the ball with in Toronto, and that’s exactly what he did. His point total for 2012 is off the mark from his career average of 77 points per season, but when you’re running with an offense that includes the likes of Colin Doyle, Garrett Billings and Stephan Leblanc to name just a few, that makes him just one of many lethal options. Most anyone will tell you that no matter what the stat sheet reads, Sanderson continues to be regarded as one of the most dangerous sticks, and minds, in the game today.

He’s not as busy as he used to be since he didn’t play any summer ball in 2012, but the 22 goals he scored for the Rock are pretty much on par with his career average of 24 per season over his 15 years in the league. What’s more, his shooting percentage came in at a respectable 18% and was even better when his shots were on goal, at 23%.

His 7 power play goals were fourth-most on the team and when it came to Toronto’s 2 playoff games he was just as effective, popping in 7 points on 5 goals and 2 assists.

Yet beyond the physical asset Sanderson brings to any team, there’s the cerebral part to consider. With 15 NLL seasons under his belt, Sanderson is as dangerous as they come, able to anticipate, able to read and able to execute whatever a defensive is giving him or his teammates.

That’s the kind of stuff that comes with experience that’s the kind of stuff veterans know they have to have if they want to continue playing in the NLL. And with the Rock signing Sanderson to play for a 16th NLL season, it’s clear that Sanderson has still got it.

Fact: Sanderson has won NLL titles with 2 teams (Calgary in 2009, Toronto in 2005) and lost in a third title game (Albany in 2002). His father, Terry, was an assistant with Calgary in 2009 and head coach of the Rock in 2005. Terry was not part of the 2002 Albany team after coaching the Attack in 2000 and 2001, leaving before the 2002 season to coach the expansion Montreal Express.

Top 40 (last year’s rank in parenthesis)

No. 40: Jeff Gilbert (not ranked)
No. 39: Kevin Crowley (nr)
No. 38: Kevin Ross (nr)
No. 37: Adam Jones (nr)
No. 36: Jordan MacIntosh (nr)
No. 35: Paul Rabil (30)
No. 34: Tyler Richards (17)
No. 33: Scott Ranger (nr)
No. 32: Chris White (20)
No. 31: Sandy Chapman (15)
No. 30: Aaron Bold (nr)
No. 29: Jeff Moleski (10)
No. 28: Andrew Suitor
No. 27: Ryan Ward (nr)
No. 26: Dane Dobbie (25)
No. 25: Mike Carnegie (31)
No. 24: Stephan Leblanc (26)

Chavez is an avid lacrosse player in Rochester and a journalist for the Democrat and Chronicle as well as a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at bob.chavez@nllinsider.com or go to RochesterSports.com.

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