ILIndoor Top 40: No. 10 through No. 7

Cody Jamieson won an NLL title in his second season. Where does he rank among our Top 35? (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
Cody Jamieson won an NLL title in his second season. Where does he rank among our Top 35? (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

As we’ve been doing for the last few years, ILIndoor is counting down the list of who we think are the top players in the game of lacrosse today. And while their National Lacrosse League numbers figure most heavily into our rankings, we’re also taking note of what these fellas are doing outside of the NLL. Let’s face it, a lot of these guys are constantly on the go, barely wrapping up their NLL seasons before they’re in Canada for summer ball or playing in another summer circuit. That said, we’re within sight of No. 1 but we’re first gonna give you a peak at Nos. 10 through No. 7 with the rest coming later this week. We’ll also have an honorable mention list coming up as well, so stay tuned.

10. Callum Crawford (21)

Callum Crawford
Callum Crawford

Maybe he’s here because of his fun-to-watch Showtime and the Downtowner program. Or maybe he’s here because he’s just plain fun to watch. The lanky right-hander out of Ottawa is as smooth as the ice on your winter sidewalk but the only thing falling here is the opponents he leaves befuddled in his wake. With the Minnesota Swarm last year, Crawford was his usual steady self, piling up 83 points on 25 goals and 58 assists. It was the second-highest point total for his 7 NLL seasons and he was a huge factor in the team advancing to the West Division final, the farthest the team has ever advanced. And when he was done there, he went back to Senior lacrosse in Quebec, where he scored 41 points (19-22) in 8 games for the St. Regis Braves. He was instrumental in helping the Braves defend their President’s Cup championship and what it comes down to here is that when you want offensive production that’s almost poetic in nature, you want to be watching Callum Crawford.

9. John Tavares (11)

John Tavares
John Tavares

All you really need to do here is say the name — John Tavares — and you’ve said enough. But we’ll do our best to extend the thought. In his 20th NLL season, all with the Buffalo Bandits, Tavares finished with 80 points (41-39) and it’s the 11th time in the last 13 seasons he’s finished with 80 or more. It was enough to lead the Bandits in scoring and after that, he rested, right? Perish the thought. By May 31, he was back on the floor with Peterborough of MSL and although he finished with just 34 points (12-22) in 12 games, he was just getting started. He dropped 43 points (15-28) in 12 MSL playoff games, then added 12 more (2-10) to win a record 8th Mann Cup. He may have lost a step — who among us in their early 40s hasn’t? — but his effective is nonetheless as damaging as it’s ever been.

8. Mark Steenhuis (9)

Mark Steenhuis
Mark Steenhuis

Some may argue that Mr. Steenhuis could be prime fodder for being one of the best all-around lacrosse players in the game today. Others score better and others may defend better, but not many do both as well as Steenhuis. He’s an athletic specimen with a lethal first step and the strength to plow through you. He’ll dive across the crease to score, or stop back and crank a wicked howitzer that finds the hole between the crossbar and the goalie’s shoulder. His 62 points (27-35) was third-best on the Bandits last season and tied for the third-highest point total of his career. He scored 34 points (14-20) in Peterborough’s regular season, added 35 points (15-20) in the MSL playoffs and then had 11 points (8-3) in the Mann Cup. He’s got 11 NLL seasons under his belt and his wheels between the zones are as dangerous as ever. Say what you want about his afro flow and orange sneakers. But make sure you’re also saying plenty about his game, which as solid as it gets from a guy who plays both ends of the floor.

7. Cody Jamieson (nr)
The talent of Cody Jamieson is no secret. We all remember the hype that came with him before the Knighthawks made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NLL draft. After all, who can forget the summer of 2009 when he scorched MSL for a loop-high 96 points in 17 games? He was impressive enough as an NLL rookie in 2011 but then came 2012, when he cemented his status as one of the game’s premier forwards. He led the Knighthawks with 85 (36-49) points in 15 regular-season games, then put the pedal to the metal for the playoffs. He led the team with 17 points (8-9) in 3 playoff games, capping it with a Champion’s Cup victory with the Knighthawks. His MVP performance — 4 goals, 4 assists — was what will become vintage Jammer. Using the tremendous power in his legs, he went where he wanted to go on the floor to create the space he needed to do his damage and there was little anyone could do to stop him. With just 2 years under his belt in the NLL, there are years of fantastic lacrosse ahead of him and it will surprise no one if he fills those soft hands with championship rings in the seasons to come.

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)
No. 15: Brodie Merrill (8)
No. 14: Jeff Shattler (14)
No. 13: Shawn Williams (12)
No. 12: Lewis Ratcliff (6)
No. 11: Kyle Rubisch (24)

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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