(Photo Courtesy of PLL)
Editors Note: The 2020 PLL Season, which will be played in a tournament format called the PLL Championship Series, kicks off on July 25th in Salt Lake City, Utah. Over the next week, Lacrosse Bucket will be previewing all seven PLL teams ahead of the season.
Last season, Atlas LC went 5-5 and their season ended with a 25-7 blowout loss against Archers LC in the consolation bracket final, aka, the 1st overall pick game.
But things look much different within the club than they did at the end of the 2019 season. Atlas has a whole new coaching staff, headlined by head coach Ben Rubeor, and they have added more star power, with attackman Rob Pannell joining the club through the entry draft. And that is where the biggest question for Atlas heading into 2020 stars.
Pannell will be the X attackman for Atlas day one. But his presence now puts this offense in a place where they have three righties on attack with Ryan Brown and Eric Law also being righties. It can work, but it will take some time to figure out how the spacing and how exactly they want to play it. Do they run one of those guys out of the box or not? If so, who will it be?
The Atlas offense also looks to be improved at the midfield, with the addition of Romar Dennis via trade and Jeremy Thompson via the Waiver Wire. Dennis, who has two-way potential, provides another dodging option from up top and makes their midfield unit, which already features Paul Rabil, Connor Buczek, and Joel Tinney. Thompson provides even more versatility to the group, being able do make an impact at almost any spot on the field.
Atlas will need this midfield unit to step up more than they did last season, especially if that loaded attack unit does take more time to work out the kinks than expected, and having more depth at that position heading into 2020 is certainly a plus in that very department.
While there may be multiple questions surrounding this new look Atlas offense, there are multiple other spots where they have very little questions at all, including the faceoff dot where Trevor Baptiste, who went 62.8% last season, returns.
Defensively, the only real question that persist is at the SSDM spot, where they lost Steve DeNapoli to Waterdogs LC in the expansion draft. Other than losing DeNapoli, this defense does not appear to have very many questions at all heading into this season.
They retain their entire core of Tucker Durkin, Kyle Hartzell, Cade Van Raaphorst, and goalie Jack Concannon. Atlas’ defense also gets better with the addition of D/LSM Craig Chick during the entry draft. Chick only makes this unit even more scarier than they were last season.