MLL Rookie Focus: Joseph Nardella

Joseph Nardella


College: Rutgers

5’10, 190 pounds

Drafted by Boston Cannons 5th Round, No. 36 overall


Nardella continued his strong play at the ‘X’ for Rutgers in his junior season. He posted his second consecutive season with a faceoff win percentage above 62 percent and developed into more of a threat in transition than the previous season. In 2014, he won 63 percent of his faceoffs which ranked fifth in the nation in that category. He also put up 13 points for Rutgers as he scored five goals and dished out eight assists.

The knock against Nardella is that he is putting up impressive statistics against a weak schedule as they played teams such as Manhattan, Wagner, Monmouth and Richmond. However, Nardella more than held his own against tougher opponents such as when they played Duke in the team’s second-to-last game of the season. He faced Duke’s Brendan Fowler, who was considered one of the best faceoff men in the country. In that game he went 14-of-28 versus Fowler. Lastly, he won 17 faceoffs against Villanova and 20 against Princeton. No matter which way you slice it, Nardella is the real deal.


Nardella will be the key on offense for Rutgers as they lose a lot of production on offense due to graduation. He will also have an even tougher slate as the Scarlet Knights move to the newly formed Big 10 Conference. He will face off against Maryland’s Charlie Raffa and Johns Hopkins’ Drew Kennedy. He will also face off against Delaware’s Tyler Barbarich who had a higher percentage at the ‘X’ than Nardella did last season.


I don’t think Nardella will see much time as a rookie for the Boston Cannons as the Cannons employ one of the game’s top faceoff men in Chris Eck. Eck won 168 faceoffs last season and won 58.5 percent of the draws he took. He also had 89 ground balls last year.

Also rookies have a tough time transitioning to the MLL game as far as faceoffs are concerned. Brendan Fowler struggled last season as he went 49-for-114 in his first season. Nardella is certainly the future in Boston whenever Eck either retires or the Cannons trade him away to continue their rebuild in Boston.

Ultimately, Nardella will get some experience in his rookie season as maybe the Cannons try and give Eck some rest. I would expect Nardella to see anywhere between 50-75 of the team’s faceoffs to get his feet wet.