The tradeoff for a lot of defensemen in lacrosse is that you get the aggressive, checking game that sends a message, but it often comes with time spent in the penalty box. Jeff Moleski tends to be the exception to that, and the National Lacrosse League’s Vancouver Stealth are more than thrilled. Bringing a beast of a defensive game with his solid 6-foot-1, 205-pound frame, Moleski is your typical aggressive and nasty defender, but he does it with a precision that’s unmatched. It’s a style that keeps him out of the penalty box and on the floor, where he can do his damage and as a vital part of the defensive cog that’s helped the Stealth play in 3 of the last 4 NLL title games, it’s a style that has him on solid footing in ILIndoor’s list of the Top 50 players in today’s game.
One of the defining features of a Stealth team that’s consistently been an NLL contender is the defense, and Moleski is one of the big reasons for that. The Stealth have a hearty stable of defenders who can bring the lumber, but Moleski is perhaps the most consistent. He’s mean and grouchy, just like a you want a defender to be.
But his is a style that’s under control. Coaches don’t have 1 eye on him and the other on the ref, waiting for that hand to go up and signal a delayed penalty. That’s a huge sigh of relief for coaches, knowing that one of their top defenders will for the most part keep himself busy on the floor, not occupied in the sin bin. Last season, Moleski had just 21 PIM. In 128 career games, he has just 201 PIM, which means he’s averaging about 1.5 minutes per game — or less than 1 minor penalty per game.
Add to that his ability to push the ball in transition and cash in for the occasional goal, and you’ve got a defender who is a coach’s dream come true.
There are a lot of flashy defenders in the NLL, but there are few more efficient and effective as Moleski.
“Some things are lost on the average NLL fans. One example would be the 2009 regular season display of Jeff Moleski. With no disrespect to 2009 Defensive Player of the Year Billy Dee Smith, I just think Moleski was dominant in my studies. The reasons why? Moleski brings the total package of size, speed, toughness and smarts. Moleski has been so steady and physical over the last 5 years and he doesn’t sit in the box often to prove his points unlike others who play the same style. Jumping up in the rush has been part of Jeff’s game since before it was in vogue and he is dangerous in transition. 2014 should be more of the same. ” – Marty O’Neill
“Plays a physical game without racking up outrageous penalty minute totals. A sturdy, reliable member of the Stealth’s back-door corps who plays a strong team game.” – Stephen Stamp
“What’s not to love about Moleski’s style? He’s been a stalwart defender for 9 seasons and teammates have sung his praises for years. He knows his role, understands the Xs and Os of it and keeps his nose to the grindstone. He’s as steady as it gets for a defenseman in the NLL.” – Bob Chavez
No. 50: Aaron Bold
No. 49: Brad Self
No. 48: Jesse Gamble
No. 47: Rory Smith
No. 46: Kiel Matisz
No. 45: Lewis Ratcliff
No. 44: Johnny Powless
No. 43: Tyler Hass
No. 42: Sid Smith
No. 41: Brett Mydske
No. 40: Stephan Leblanc
No. 39: Kevin Ross
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