2018 NLL Awards

It’s that time of year again! When some NLL players gear up for the playoffs while others dust off the golf clubs or join their MLL teams. It’s also time for the annual NLL award voting. I don’t have a vote in the NLL awards but I’ve submitted my picks for the real awards, which are of course those published on IL Indoor. In that series of articles, probably published next week sometime, I will have comments about who I picked to win so I won’t repeat them here. I will also mention my pre-season picks for these awards so we can either stare in amazement at my insight or laugh at my “insight”.

In my season preview articles (West and East), I picked a player for each team who I thought might have a breakout year, so I’ll also go over my “Look out for…” choices. Some panned out, while others were not as prescient as I might have hoped.


Original pick: Lyle Thompson

  1. Mark Matthews
  2. Kevin Crowley
  3. Joe Resetarits
  4. Lyle Thompson
  5. Robert Church

Honourable mention: Tom Schreiber. Schreiber missed enough games that he probably shouldn’t win the award, but considering how the Rock played before his injury and how they played while he was out, it’s clear just how valuable to his team Schreiber was.

Christian Del Bianco (photo credit: unknown)Goaltender of the Year

Original pick: Nick Rose

  1. Christian del Bianco
  2. Dillon Ward
  3. Evan Kirk
  4. Matt Vinc
  5. Nick Rose

Transition Player of the Year

Original pick: Justin Salt

  1. Joey Cupido
  2. Challen Rogers
  3. Zach Currier
  4. Latrell Harris
  5. Nick Weiss

Robert HopeDefensive Player of the Year

Original pick: Graeme Hossack

  1. Robert Hope
  2. Graeme Hossack
  3. Kyle Rubisch
  4. Steve Priolo
  5. Brad Kri

Rookie of the Year

Original pick: Josh Byrne

  1. Zach Currier
  2. Josh Byrne
  3. Jake Withers
  4. Colton Watkinson
  5. Austin Shanks

Marty Dinsdale (photo credit: NLL)Unsung Hero

  1. Marty Dinsdale
  2. John Ranagan
  3. Luc Magnan
  4. Vaughn Harris
  5. Tim Edwards

Les Bartley Award

Original pick: Matt Sawyer

  1. Ed Comeau
  2. Mike Hasen
  3. Derek Keenan

GM of the Year

Original pick: Rich Lisk

  1. Curt Styres
  2. Derek Keenan
  3. John Arlotta

Final standings

In the East, I had Toronto first, followed by Georgia, New England, Rochester, and Buffalo. I got Buffalo and New England right, and of course we all know that Toronto would have won the East if Tom Schreiber didn’t get hurt. We all know that, right?

From a certain point of view, I only got one wrong in the West. I picked Saskatchewan to win, then Vancouver, Colorado, and Calgary. Moving Vancouver to the bottom makes me 4-for-4 so that’s just one wrong.

Look out for…

Calgary: Holden Cattoni. Nailed it, not that it was completely out of left field. Cattoni did play three more games than 2017 but he scored 5 times as many goals, twice as many assists, three times as many points, twice as many loose balls, and reduced his already-low penalty minutes by one. And when I say “three times as many points”, we’re not talking an increase from three to nine points; Cattoni jumped from 26 to 75 points in 2018.

Colorado: Jacob Ruest. Also nailed it. Although not as dramatic a difference as Cattoni, Ruest also increased his goals, assists, points, and loose balls from last season. And just like Cattoni, the absolute numbers are impressive: Ruest jumped from 36 to 67 points.

Saskatchewan: Ryan Keenan. Three for three, baby. Keenan doubled his goal total from 13 to 26 and bumped his points by 31.

Vancouver: Tony Malcom. Imma call this a provisional win as well. Malcom did double his goal total and increase his assist total as well, but he played twice as many games. But that’s part of the win: the fact that he played in all 18 Stealth games and became a fixture on the Stealth O.

Buffalo: Alex Buque. Nope. Buque didn’t have a horrible season but with a GAA of almost 13, it wasn’t great either. He’s right smack in the middle of the pack in terms of both GAA and save percentage, but consistency was Buque’s problem. In some games he was great (over 80% save percentage in five full games and parts of two more) and in others he was terrible (GAA over 17 in six different games).

Georgia: Johnny Powless. Nope. Powless was fighting for playing time with a bunch of other strong offensive players in Georgia so he was sent to New England but didn’t seem to make a huge impact there either. In the end, he ended up with 31 points in 17 games. Not everyone needs 100 points to be considered effective, but considering Powless had 72 points with Georgia just two years ago, this is quite a drop.

New England: Reilly O’Connor. Another nope, though O’Connor didn’t have a bad year. His numbers dropped a little but instead of playing a bigger role because of the departure of Culp, Saunders, and Veltman (lefties who left), he actually played a smaller role once the Black Wolves brought in new lefties like Leblanc and Powless.

Rochester: Dan Dawson. Not only did Dawson not have a rebound year, but the Knighthawks actually got better once they sat and then traded him. That’s a little misleading though; it’s not like Dawson was a drain on the team, or that he played terrible. They got better because the young players were all doing really well and Dawson’s services were simply not needed. He went to Saskatchewan, filled in admirably for Curtis Knight until he came back, then was scratched a couple more times.

Toronto: Drew Belgrave. I’m going to have to call that a nope as well. Belgrave looked pretty good in the games he played in, but he only played in seven.


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