(Photo Courtesy of Buffalo Bandits)
Every year, each team has one or two players that breakout. Whether a player breaks out because of a particular circumstance within their team or just due to the natural progression, it is always fun to watch a player rise to prominence within his team or a league.
And with the season just about a week away, it is a good time to look at each teams’ roster and speculate who might have a breakout season. So here is a breakdown of one five potential breakout players for the 2019-20 NLL season.
Dallas Bridle, F, Buffalo Bandits
After just spending most of last season on the Bandits’ practice squad and only appearing in one game, the former third-round pick 2017 could see an increased role with the Bandits’s this season, especially with Thomas Hoggarth likely out for the season and Shawn Evans and Jordan Durston being picked up in the NLL Expansion Draft.
The Orangeville, Ontario native only appeared in one game last season, picking up three loose balls and dishing out one assist. However, Bridle had an outstanding summer in the MSL, tallying 27 points (11G/16) with the Brampton Excelsiors during the regular season.
Despite having a loaded offense even without Hoggarth in the lineup, Buffalo has a slot to fill on that right side and Bridle could be that player to fill the void this season and possibly breakout, showing NLL fans how much of an impact he can be on the offensive end.
Jeff Wittig, F, Colorado Mammoth
Drafted in the fourth round by Vancouver in 2017, Wittig signed a two-year deal with Colorado last fall. The St. Catherines, Ontario native only saw action in eight games last season but could see an uptick in minutes this season.
Wittig put up 21 points (8G/13A) last season, but with a thin left side coming into the season we could see much more production from the lefty forward this season. Paired up with Eli McLaughlin on the left side, Wittig has the potential to be a huge piece to Colorado’s youthful offense core this season.
With a need on the left side and a youth movement underway in Colorado, Wittig could be the next player to break out and become a big figure on their offense, just like what we saw from Kyle Killen during his rookie season last season.
Brendan Bomberry, T, Georgia Swarm
Similar to Zed Williams’ breakout year with Georgia last season, Bomberry is coming into his second year in the league after making a decent impact as a rookie, playing in 17 games and getting most of his reps in the transition game.
Bomberry has shown what he can do as a defender in the transition game. Coming into this season following a great summer with the Six Nations Chiefs in the MSL, Bomberry could possibly get some runs out of the front door this season, especially with Georgia losing Holden Cattoni in the expansion draft and now having to rely on that right side more than every.
No matter if they will use Bomberry as a guy to put in on the right side when someone needs a breather or he will get a chance to run out the front door on a regular basis, Bomberry has the potential to break out with the Swarm this season and really turns some heads.
Mike Burke, F, Halifax Thunderbirds
After spending some time in the Arena Lacrosse League, Burke finally got a fair shake at the NLL last season with the Rochester Knighthawks. Moving with the team to Halifax, Burke has a chance to make a bigger impact this season, especially as a part of this electric offense.
Last season, Burke posted 42 points (15G/27A) in 14 games. Coming to Halifax with the team, Burke has the ability to see more action and possibly make a bigger impact with the likes of Cody Jamieson, Ryan Benesch, and Kyle Jackson on the offense end, as well.
Burke has a chance to break out this season with Halifax and possibly step into a role as a key offensive weapon this season, especially with the amount of offensive talent that the Thunderbirds have on their roster.
Connor Kelly, F, New York Riptide
Drafted in the third round by San Diego in the 2018 draft, Kelly saw action in seven games last season, posting 17 points (9G/8A). Being picked up by New York in the Expansion Draft, Kelly has a chance to really break through this season.
A Connecticut native, Kelly doesn’t have much box experience but has very high potential. Kelly really showed his potential this past fall with Team USA at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championship, helping to lead USA to a Bronze Medal. Kelly tallied 22 points (11G/11A) in four games.
With the potential in the box game that Kelly Posses and the situation he is coming into with an expansion team, this season could be his opportunity to really come into his own in between the boards at the professional level.