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New York Atlas: 2024 Season Preview

2023 Regular Season Record: 2-8, 7th in PLL

Final Result: Lost to the Cannons in the Quarterfinals


Key Additions:

Connor Shellenberger, A

Liam Entenmann, G

Jake Stevens, M

Tyler Carpenter, LSM

Payton Cormier, A

Tim Troutner, G


Key Departures:

Tucker Durkin, D (retired)

Jack Concannon, G (retired)

Jake Richard, M

Chris Gray, A


First year head coach Mike Pressler had an underwhelming first season with the Atlas. Despite having one of the more talented rosters in the league, the Atlas only won two games and never reached their ceiling as a team. The struggles were due in large part to their defense which ranked last in scores against, total scores allowed, and tied for the most two point goals allowed. The offense was still effective, but they could not keep up with the scores the defense was giving up. Following their loss to the Cannons in the quarterfinals, it was clear that changes were needed in order for Atlas to take the next step towards success. The building blocks of the Atlas were clear: Trevor Baptiste, the best faceoff athlete in the sport,  Jeff Teat, Eric Law, Xander Dickson, and Bryan Costabile, the focal points of the offense, while Danny Logan, Gavin Adler, Brett Makar, and Michael Rexrode are the stalwarts on defense. The team made several moves that signaled a shift towards a younger group of players on both offense and defense. 


The first major transaction saw Pressler trade A Chris Gray to the Redwoods for the 5th overall pick in the 2024 draft. Retirements from former team captain Tucker Durkin and Jack Concannon, and the departure of Jake Richard leave a gap of veteran leadership and experience, but Law and Baptiste have the presence to take up those roles. Myles Jones, Dylan Molloy, and Koby Smith are wildcards for the offense, as is Dox Aitken who was recently removed from the PUP list after spending a year trying out for the NFL. Tim Troutner was signed from the Redwoods to compete for the starting job, and maybe provide stability to a position that has been underwhelming for the Atlas in the past. While they may have three key members from their inaugural season, Pressler and the Atlas are ready to move into the next phase of the franchise and hopefully find a group of players who can experience sustained success.


The Atlas had arguably the best draft in the PLL, added both high end talent and positions of need. Pressler acquired the best passer in the draft by taking Connor Shellenberger from Virginia with the second pick. Shellenberger will be a nice fit next to Teat and Law, who both have excellent off ball ability. He also has instant chemistry with Dickson, who scored 61 goals playing alongside Shellenberger in the 2023 college season. They then selected Liam Entenmann, with the pick that was traded for Chris Gray, who is without a doubt the best goalie in the class and could be the best goalie in the league by the time next season starts. The subsequent selections of Jake Stevens and Tyler Carpenter add much needed depth to the middle of the field and could both be dangerous in transition. However, the most savvy move of the draft process came from the waiver pickup of Payton Cormier from Virginia. Cormier, now the all time leading goal scorer in NCAA history, has the chance to come in and immediately be a dangerous scoring threat in the PLL. His chemistry with Shellenberger has been on display for the past couple seasons, and he recently broke Dickson UVA goals record. Although it's unclear where exactly Cormier will play, his name will certainly be heard throughout the season and his relationship with Shellenberger could be deadly for the Atlas. 


BEST CASE SCENARIO:


The biggest issue for the Atlas last season was their defense. The amount of shots allowed and scores against made it very difficult for the offense to even keep them in games. If Entenmann or Troutner can have an immediate impact, then they should have no problem staying in closer games and scoring at a high level. Baptiste is still the most dominant FO athlete in the league, and the additions of Shellenberger and Cormier could make the offense impossible to defend. 2024 marks a new era for the Atlas, and they have the horses, or bulls, to become one of the league's top teams. 


WORST CASE SCENARIO: 


It’s tough to estimate how big the losses of Concannon and Durkin could be. Those two have been the lead communicators on defense since the Atlas were formed in 2019, and it may take some time for the team to adjust to their absences. If the defense continues their struggles from last year, the Atlas could face similar challenges as they did last year: an exciting offensive team that can’t keep up with the goals allowed on the other end of the field. A disappointing season could lead to more changes next off-season, including a trade of an offensive centerpiece or a coaching change. 


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