There are a number of factors that complicate of identifying which players are poised to take the next step at the professional level. Sometimes players make an immediate impact, like Eric Law, Jordan Wolf, or Kieran McArdle, while others put in a ton of work off the field and emerge later down the line. Someone like Jeremy Sieverts comes to mind in this scenario. Sieverts was originally selected 44th overall in the 2010 Supplemental Draft by Chesapeake. He never dressed for the Bayhawks, but after being traded to Denver he was the MLL’s most improved player in 2012.
Is the next Jeremy Sieverts waiting in the wings for the Denver Outlaws? In order to really parse this question we need to break the season down into its component parts. Now the timeline for these parts vary by team, but by and large they’re something every team experiences to some degree.
- Stage 1: Opening of MLL season until the end of the NLL season
- Stage 2: Opening of MLL season until the end of the NCAA season
- Stage 3: Full roster availability
Now there is a bit of overlap in these stages because different NLL and NCAA teams end their seasons at different periods and so players become available on a rolling basis.
With that in mind there are two potential breakout players to keep an eye on in the Outlaws’ clubhouse.
The one name I keep coming back to that should have an opportunity to shine during the Stage 1 and Stage 2 overlap is Colin Dunster. He appeared in six regular games for the Outlaws and registered 5 goals and 1 assist, and saw the field against New York in the semi-finals, gobbling up three ground balls in the contest.
In short, when given opportunities last year Dunster looked good. With the Outlaws moving Terry Kimener in the off-season for Geoff Snider there may be more opportunity for Dunster to contribute in the midfield. Kimener finished with 8 points last season (3, 5) in eight games last season, and Dunster would appear to be the most likely replacement. I wouldn’t expect Drew Snider or Jeremy Sieverts numbers from Dunster, but a point per game average seems feasible.
The other player to take into consideration for his breakout potential is Lehigh senior attackman Dan Taylor. Perhaps the steal of the entry draft, Taylor currently sits fifth in the nation in scoring with 52 points (29, 23) through 11 games for the Mountain Hawks.
I know there is always concern with Canadian players because of NLL commitments, but that won’t be an issue for Taylor for the 2015 MLL campaign, which would essentially be a low-risk trial of the professional field league for the hulking Albertan.
Many have said that attack is the toughest position to transition into MLL at (well, maybe after goalie, but the opportunities in net are far fewer), but Taylor has the size to handle MLL defenders and the soft hands to make plays.
Lehigh has struggled in Patriot League play this year, and if those woes continue Taylor could potentially join the Outlaws sooner rather than later. If he does and if he capitalizes on his tremendous upside the talk of him being the steal of the draft will shift from the realm of the theoretical to the applicable.