2022 Regular Season Record: 7-3
Final Result: Lost to Chaos in Quarterfinals
Cross Ferrera, A
John Geppert, LSM/D
Sam Handley, M
Troy Hettinger, D
Jesse King, A (off Holdout List)
Jack Myers, A
John Ranagan, M
The Chrome offseason was quiet. They retained their free agents, they brought back defenseman Greg Weyl and attackman Jesse King off the holdout list. They addressed some needs in the draft. There’s nothing in there that was a major splash, a free agency move to get lax twitter buzzing, or a trade of note. The biggest move was the fourth pick in the draft, as Penn midfielder Sam Handley fell out of the top three. Handley was the prize of the offensive group of players in the draft. A 6’5, 230lb midfielder who was a first team All American three times, and plays with the agility and skill of players eight inches shorter and 60 pounds lighter. Chrome Head Coach Tim Soudan has long deployed the “Big Boy Line” of midfielders on his teams, Handley is the latest to join the group. He’ll take the place of the retired John Ranagan. It’s not crazy to suggest Handley will see a pole from the first day, he just demands that level of respect from a defense the second he steps on the field.
The rest of the draft went quite well for Chrome. Troy Hettinger is a steal at any spot in the draft. There were defenders in this class who went overlooked simply because of the caliber of player at the very top of the position group. Everyone talked about Adler, Bowen, Grant, and Makar, and players like Hettinger end up in the periphery. But go watch the Duke game. Hettinger guards both McAdorey and O’Neill in that game, showing his versatility. He can play at LSM or down low at close. In a pinch, you can give him a shorty and he’ll play some SSDM for you at a pro level. There aren’t many others in the draft who can do that. As Jesse Bernhardt gets closer to retirement, Hettinger makes a ton of sense as his replacement. John Geppert came in as a waiver add at the LSM spot as well, as it was a position of focus for this off season. Depth behind Eli Salama is critical. Jack Myers is the other noteworthy draft pick, who slid to the later rounds. Myers has the physical tools and skills of a pro. His slide was likely because he really is comfortable at X or on wings, and hasn’t shown he’ll be comfortable running out of the box or driving the offense from elsewhere on the field. For Chrome, they can take that type of player because of the pending absence of Brendan Nichtern. They have an opening at X, Myers can fill it. If his game develops and he can play more PLL style offense, moving to midfield or attacking from other places on the field, this pick skyrockets in value.
BEST CASE SCENARIO
Chrome don’t miss a beat while Nichtern misses the first three weeks, establishing an offensive grouping that can still initiate from X. Jackson Morrill, Jack Myers, and Logan Wisnauskas all are comfortable from X and other places, giving the offense a chance to throw multiple looks at defenses that aren’t sure how who to try and key on first. Dylan Molloy is a massive beneficiary, and can isolate against unsettled defenses from the wing. Sam Handley forms a midfield line with Jordan Macintosh and Justin Anderson that gives defenses fits. Sean Sconone further elevates his goalie play, Mike Manley turns in another incredible season, and JT Giles Harris wins Defensive Player of the Year.
WORST CASE SCENARIO
Chrome struggle to adjust to life with Nichtern and drop their first three games as they search for the right QB. As part of that, Handley feels the pressure to deliver as an offensive creator, and forces the issue too often, leading to turnovers. Mike Manley and Jesse Bernhardt both begin to show their age, and the new defensive personnel doesn’t adjust quickly to the pace and style of PLL lacrosse. It leaves Sconone facing way too many shots that are high percentage. The new faceoff rules reduce the impact of Connor Farrell as his wins get followed by empty possessions, and the Chrome finish in the bottom half of the league.