There are still a couple of weeks left in the season, but here are some early player award possibilities as well as a look at my predictions from the beginning of the season. Some of them were pretty close, others… not so much.
The front-runners are the few people, in no particular order, who I think have the best shot of winning the award. For the most part, I haven’t made my actual selections yet, so these are just my short-lists. In most cases, I put a dark horse as well; someone who probably won’t win the award but should be considered.
Prediction: Dan Dawson, Garrett Billings. Dawson has been good but not outstanding. Billings has been outstanding.
Front-runners: Garrett Billings, Shawn Evans, Mark Matthews
Dark horse: Callum Crawford
Goaltender of the Year
Prediction: Anthony Cosmo, Aaron Bold. Cosmo hasn’t been great, though I wouldn’t blame the Bandits lousy season on him. Bold is 3rd among starters in GAA but 8th in save %. He has been very good, though not as good as last year.
Front-runners: Matt Vinc, Nick Rose, Tyler Richards
Dark horse: Tye Belanger has been excellent though has half the minutes of the other starters (other than the Swarm’s dynamic duo).
Transition Player of the Year
Prediction: Jordan MacIntosh, Paul Rabil. MacIntosh is on my short list. Rabil has been good but not Tranny of the Year good.
Front-runners: Geoff Snider, Jordan MacIntosh, Jesse Gamble, Jeremy Thompson, Jordan Hall
Dark horse: Brad Self
Defensive Player of the Year
I’ll admit it: I suck when it comes to evaluating defensemen. Part of it is because I’m a stats guy, and there are no really useful stats for defenders. But a lot of it is that I have no formal training – I’m self-taught in the art of watching lacrosse. I’m a fan who’s never actually played the game. When I’m watching a game, I’m watching the offensive players and the goalie. I will notice when a defender makes a great play or if a team seems to hear the shot clock buzzer an awful lot (implying a good defensive unit), but I don’t generally notice individual defenders. That said, I have made a point to watch Kyle Rubisch and Chris Corbeil because you hear about them so much, and Sandy Chapman has always been one of my favourite Rock players. I remember watching Paul Dawson shut people down (and occasionally beat the snot out of them) with the Blazers.
It’s weird though – I can look at a list of transition players and have general feelings on how they’ve been playing without looking at the stats. I have no idea how many points Brad Self has, or Jordan Hall, or Jeremy Thompson, but I know they’re having good seasons. I have no such impressions with pure defenders.
Prediction: Kyle Rubisch, Paul Dawson
Front-runners: Kyle Rubisch, Chris Corbeil, Paul Dawson, Scott Self
Dark horse: I got nothing.
Rookie of the Year
Prediction: Mark Matthews, Kiel Matisz. Woo, nailed it on this one. Unlike everyone else who also predicted Matthews as ROY.
Front-runners: Mark Matthews, Kiel Matisz,
Tye Belanger, Mitch McMichael, Kyle Belton, Curtis Knight, Dhane Smith
Dark horse: Anyone but Matthews, really.
Update: Can’t believe I forgot Dhane Smith on the original list. Also, apparently Tye Belanger is not considered a rookie.
Les Bartley Award
Prediction: Troy Cordingley, Joe Sullivan. Again, nailed it.
Front-runners: Troy Cordingley, Chris Hall, Joe Sullivan, Derek Keenan
Dark horse: Mike Hasen if the Knighthawks continue playing well in the last two weeks.
GM of the Year
Prediction: Curt Styres, Steve Dietrich. The Knighthawks and Bandits both made significant offseason moves and I thought at least one of them would be successful. The offseason Rochester moves didn’t seem to make the team appreciably better, but the Powell-for-Sullivan, Self, and Purves moves were all good. The Bandits moves made the team worse and other than Dhane Smith, didn’t really set them up for the future either (though the Cosmo trade that lost them next year’s first round pick was Kilgour, not Dietrich).
Front-runners: Derek Keenan, John Arlotta
Dark horse: Johnny Mouradian. Dawson+Dawson for Rabil+Hall isn’t nearly the disaster I thought it might be.