NLL Weekly Grades: Good Marks in Colorado

dickson against corbeil roughnecks rush

The first week of National Lacrosse League action of 2016 is in the books, and that means the analysis can begin.

John Grant Jr: A+

John Grant Jr does it year in and year out. Not only did he (tie) lead the Colorado Mammoth with seven points on Friday night, but he scored the game winning goal to boot. Here’s a look at his goal that earned him an A+ for this week.

Mark Matthews: A+

Like I said before the season started, Matthews is the next great NLL player. He had five points in the Saskatchewan Rush victory on Saturday night and was a big part of that win. All of his goals came on five straight goals that ended up tying the game for the Rush after they had trailed all game.

Randy Staats: A+

Talk about a debut. Staats put up seven points in his first career game to lead the Georgia Swarm despite their 16-15 loss at Colorado. The Swarm have brought in rookie sensations each year, and many have developed into stars. However, maybe the fanfare hasn’t quite been there for Staats after the hype of Lyle Thompson. Yet there is no doubt Staats was one of the best players on the floor on Friday night.

Curtis Dickson: B-

Dickson by no means had a bad game, putting up four points, but with Shawn Evans out, Dickson is expected to be the offensive leader of the team. Saskatchewan does have an excellent defense, but other star players were putting up six or seven point nights across the league.

Jeff Shattler and Tyler Digby: C-

The supporting cast of offense in Calgary needs to step up, and combining for just two points between Shattler and Digby did not do that at all. The former MVP in Shattler and the man who was traded for Evans combined for three points on the night. If Calgary wants to improve on last year’s 7-11 record, they need these two to step up.

Alex Buque: B

Buque stepped up as the opening night starter for Colorado, and that start may have come as a surprise to those who expected to see Dillon Ward in the crease. Buque played well, making 42 saves on an onslaught of 57 shots. However, he did surrender 15 goals to a young Swarm team. It remains to be seen if the Mammoth will go back to Buque against Rochester next week, but his 2016 debut was solid at worst.

Curtis Knight: A-

It was Knight’s first time playing lacrosse since he tore his ACL in the CUFLA last fall, and it took about a quarter before it seemed like he fully had his legs under him. However, once he got going, Knight was the catalyst of the Rush offense. He assisted on the first goal of the game for the Rush and went on to assist on five more.

Curtis Manning: A

Manning’s night for the Calgary Roughnecks may have gone unnoticed in their loss to Saskatchewan. Despite the loss, Calgary gave up just 10 goals to one of the more potent offenses in the league, and Manning was a big part of that. He caused two turnovers and picked up five loose balls, and the Roughnecks need a leader on defense with Andrew McBride’s retirement.

Callum Crawford: A

Another six point scorer on Friday night for Colorado was Callum Crawford, a former member of the Swarm. Crawford had a lot to prove to his former team, and after the game said the motivation was there to prove he signed with a championship caliber team.

Honorable Mention

Zack Greer: A+

This man deserves an A+ just for enduring this.