ILIndoor Top 40: Brodie Merrill #15

Brodie Merrill is one of the best in transition and he's no slouch in the offensive zone, either. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
Brodie Merrill is one of the best in transition and he's no slouch in the offensive zone, either. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

The long stride of Brodie Merrill carrying the ball up the floor is unmistakable. It’s as though he covers the floor in just 4 or 5 strides and as impressive as it can be, understanding how he gets to that point is even more noteworthy. In set pieces, he’ll play defense like you’re trying to steal his lunch. For loose balls, his long reach and body positioning puts him a step ahead of anyone who tries to challenge. And when it comes to getting the ball out of his zone, well, we already covered that. The right-hander out of Orangeville, Ont., is gone, in a hurry, and it’s all of that, and more, which makes him one of the most valuable transition men in lacrosse today.

Yes, Merrill can do all of the aforementioned lacrosse tasks as well as, or even better than, many in the NLL. But he’s a bonus from the back end because he has a nose for the front end and can finish a rush, as evidenced by his 17 goals last season, which ties a career high.

Yet his overall numbers, 32 points, were his lowest output since scoring just 23 points in 2007. But when you play with a team that scores just 176 goals overall, which ranks No. 8 in the 9-team NLL, you can see how that happened. Still, his 157 loosies ranked second on the team and his 3 short-handed goals tied him for the team lead. He also forced 16 turnovers, second-most among all Wings players.

The point here is that while Merrill’s numbers in the front end may have been down as a whole, the complete package is a fine testament to the all-around work he does, and has been doing for 7 years in the NLL. That in itself is pretty amazing, especially when you consider he’s missed just 1 game in his 7 seasons, playing in 111 of a possible 112 games. Considering the punishment his body takes at the position he plays, Merrill’s durability while doing a lot of dirty work truly is something to behold and praise.

And the fact that he transitioned right back to the field game after the Wings were eliminated from the playoffs, playing 13 games with MLL’s Hamilton Nationals, his endurance is that much more remarkable. He led the Nationals with 96 ground balls, which also ranked third-best in the summer loop. Indoors or out, Merrill has maintained a consistency in whatever chore is needed of him. And he not only takes on the tasks willingly, he does so with an excellence few in the game can match.

Twitter handle: twitter.com/BrodieMerrill_

Fact: So how does Merrill compare to one of the NLL’s all-time greats — Jim Veltman — when it comes to loose balls? Through 7 seasons, Merrill has 1,371 loosies, which breaks down to 12.4 per game (111) and 195 per season (7). In 16 seasons (194 games), Veltman averaged 12.5 per game and 151 per season. So if Merrill maintains his average of 12.4 LBs per game, he’ll pass Veltman early in the 2018 season.

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)
No. 23: Josh Sanderson (7)
No. 22: Athan Iannucci (16)
No. 21: Mike Poulin (nr)
No. 20: Gavin Prout (22)
No. 19: Colin Doyle (5)
No. 18: Shawn Evans (33)
No. 17: Geoff Snider (18)
No. 16: Ryan Benesch (13)

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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