The Denver Outlaws open the 2020 MLL campaign versus the Connecticut Hammerheads tonight at 7 p.m. Denver lost the championship last season by a single goal so have lofty expectations for this shortened season.
However, with Dillon Ward and Zach Currier defecting to the PLL, the Outlaws will have to draw on their other big guns this season if they want to win another championship.
John Grant Jr. is back and is expected to lead this relatively new offense. Grant will be joined by several college standouts who will be expected to wrangle their talents and quickly adapt to the MLL style of play. Grant can still score goals and the Outlaws will need him to train players like Connor Healy, Jack O’Connell and Daniel Bucaro if they want to be competitive this season.
The goaltending position is open for Nate Siekierski, Nick Washuta and Christian Knight. Siekierski is the all-time saves leader in Colorado high school lacrosse. Washuta is also qualified for the starting role, having played for Vermont as a first team American East All-Conference player. Knight is out of Baltimore and played for Cornell. Knight is the only one with MLL experience as he heads into his third pro year. He played eight games in 2019 for Denver. And although two of these players are new (and thereby unfamiliar to Colorado fans) there are many other players who are returning fan favourites who are poised to help the Outlaws win.
One of the players that is critical in determining the success of the game is Max Adler, who quickly showed that he has what it takes to be one of the best faceoff men in the MLL. Adler is a gritty player. During the championships in 2018, banged up, bloody and limping off the field, he kept going out with new bandages to help his team win the championship. Arguably, his best game last year came against the Bayhawks when he won 23 of 24 faceoffs. It comes as no surprise that this 2019 All Star will be counted on this season and it is expected that he will continue to do great things.
Hoping to add to the competitive ways of Denver will be the defense. There are a few returning players like Taylor Stuart, Michael Rexrode and Kyle Pless. Pless is a Colorado native so he is, naturally, a fan favourite. Stuart is from Coquitlam, BC and played at Bellarmine. Rexrode is from Virginia and led the team in 16 caused turnovers last season. All three men are going to be expected to get players like Tom Rigney , Garrett Michaeli and Chase Caruso up to speed.
The majority of the returning players seem to be in the midfield. That works in favour of the Outlaws. Many of the midfielders are either returning or have a tremendous number of accolades that follow them. Look for Mikie Schlosser to continue to find success in the midfield. Will Snider will join him. Snider won Rookie of the Week honors last season and quickly proved his worth to this Denver team. Sean Mayle played for Chesapeake and he can bring that level of play to the Outlaws. Brian Kormondy also has MLL experience.
Head Coach Tony Seaman has been with the Outlaws for several years. This is his second year as a head coach after serving as the team’s general manager. He knows how to successfully maintain several roles. His biggest job this season will be pulling this team together with all the changes. There is no reason to believe the Outlaws could not be a contender to try and claim another championship if all the pieces come together with help from their big guns or top players this season.