ILIndoor Top 50: Dan Dawson #19

Dan Dawson's ability to create for himself, and others, makes him one of the game's best. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)
Dan Dawson's ability to create for himself, and others, makes him one of the game's best. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

It isn’t just that Dan Dawson can score goals, because he certainly can do that. And it isn’t just that Dan Dawson can set up goals, because again, he certainly can do that. Instead, it’s Dawson’s ability to do both that makes him so, well, dangerous. Dangerous Dan, as he’s called, is a forward who takes what’s given by the defense and the 6-foot-5, 225-pound right-hander out of Oakville, Ont., makes the most of what’s given. Whether it’s his sublime stickwork that gets him in position to shoot and score, or his vision that finds the cutting teammate with precision passing, Dawson is as lethal as it gets on the offensive end and that’s why he’s a no-brainer when it comes to ILIndoor’s Top 50.

Getting ready for his second National Lacrosse League season with the Rochester Knighthawks, the veteran Dawson took some time last winter getting acclimated to his new team. He had just 1 goal through the first 4 games and some observers even dared to suggest he was tentative and needed to shoot more.

Alas, he was just feeling out the situation. And by the time 2013 was said and done, he had 75 points (23-52) to rank second on the team, and his 23 goals were third-most. More importantly, though, he was an NLL champ with the Knighthawks for the first time in his career.

It wasn’t that long ago that Dawson was regularly clearing the 30-goal plateau for a season. He’s been in the mid-20s the last 2 winters, but he’s still dishing like a boss and given the consistency he’s displayed over most of his 13 NLL seasons, there’s no reason to think he won’t be joining the 1,000 point club in 2014 as he enters the season with 946 career points.

His scoring touch in the summer with the Brampton Excelsiors has slowed a bit, but then again, he has played just 29 regular-season games with the Excels over the last 3 summers. In 10 games for 2013, he had 23 points (4-19) and didn’t suit up for Brampton after July 18. Still, he’s got 4 Mann Cup rings with the Excels (plus 1 with Victoria) to add to his first NLL title and his contributions to those championship teams put him squarely in the conversation of who the dominant scorers are in today’s game.

ILIndoor’s take

“Has long been one of the premier set-up men in the game. Dawson is a natural leader both with his quiet but strong presence and with the way he plays the game the right way. He’s virtually unstoppable when he senses an opening and drives to the net, but he’s extremely unselfish. Dawson possesses a tremendous combination of strength and touch.” – Stephen Stamp

“Dangerous Dan Dawson was an incredible force in the mid-2000s. Many heralded Dan as the biggest force in the game and indeed, his ability to deliver the Arizona Sting to the championship twice supported that ideal. Dawson remains a great piece to the Rochester offense and a leader by example. Dawson has found a home in Rochester directing the right side for at least a few more years to come.” – Marty O’Neill

“His slow start in Rochester had some people wondering, but Dawson reminded us that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. He’s one of those few players that make you pay attention when he’s got the ball because he can do so much with it. His long arms and reach let him get off shots when you don’t think there’s one there, much to the delight of fans and dismay of opponents.” – Bob Chavez

Top 50

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
No. 38: Jeff Moleski
No. 37: Drew Westervelt
No. 36: Jeff Gilbert
No. 35: Ryan Ward
No. 34: Cory Vitarelli
No. 33: Kyle Sorensen
No. 32: Corey Small
No. 31: Shawn Williams
No. 30: Scott Ranger
No. 29: Mark Steenhuis
No. 28: Casey Powell
No. 27: Josh Sanderson
No. 26: Brandon Miller
No. 25: Mike Grimes
No. 24: Chris Corbeil
No. 23: Kevin Crowley
No. 22: Geoff Snider
No. 21: John Tavares
No. 20: Mark Matthews

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