The leading candidate for rookie of the year looks pretty obvious, doesn’t it? Mark Matthews is hailed as a superstar-in-waiting who is expected to start making an impact on January 13, when Edmonton plays its first game of the new season. Before you click to make your vote, though, you may want to think about Kiel Matisz, among other contenders. You see, in the last eight years, the National Lacrosse League’s Rookie of the Year has come from the third draft slot five times: Adam Jones, Curtis Dickson, Rhys Duch, Craig Point and Ryan Boyle. You have to go back six years to find the last first overall pick who went on to be named RoY. In 2007, Ryan Benesch was the second straight top choice to take the award, following Brodie Merrill. Before that, you have to go back to the 2000 and 2001 seasons for any more first picks to take the trophy: John Grant, Jr. and Tracey Kelusky.
Even more common than the first choice not being a lock is one other trend: the Rookie of the Year does come from the first round: Stephan Leblanc, the other winner over the past eight seasons, was taken by Toronto with the 11th of 12 picks in the 2009 draft. So today’s poll will include the 10 players chosen in the first round of the 2012 draft.
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