10 Trades That Should Be Made
At the All-Star break, there’s a clear separation between the top and the bottom of the table. Archers LC and Waterdogs LC are fighting for a bye to the semifinals. Cannons LC, Chaos LC, and Redwoods LC are in the hunt for a 2024 Championship Series spot.
And the two-time champions Whipsnakes LC, preseason favorites Atlas LC, and 2023 Championship Series winners Chrome LC are all 1-4.
The trade deadline isn’t until August 22nd – but some teams could benefit from change now. Here are eight hypothetical trades that we could I want to see in the next couple weeks.
1. Colin Heacock to Whipsnakes LC
Colin Heacock has been in-and-out of the Chrome LC lineup. Even when he’s in, his role has been decreased significantly – from 19.1 touches per game in 2022 down to 11.7 in 2023. Left-handed midfielder Jesse King’s return may push Heacock and Cole Williams out of the lineup for good.
The Whipsnakes have kicked the tires on this deal in the past. The timing makes sense now.
Heacock can play attack or midfield for a depleted Whipsnakes team. He hustles like hell. He’s an unselfish offensive player – capable of putting his head down for a bully dodge or being the screener in a lefty mumbo.
Heacock-for-Colin Squires could make sense for both sides. Chrome needs to get younger on the defensive end.
2. Jack Concannon to Whipsnakes LC
After Kyle Bernlohr left last weekend’s game with an elbow injury, the Whipsnakes may be looking for goalie depth. Brian Phipps and Brendan Krebs are in the hunt. But the Whipsnakes should at least ask what the price is for backup goalies like Concannon and Tim Troutner (Redwoods LC).
The Whipsnakes have bought low on frustrated players in similar situations (see: Justin Guterding). They may be able to rent Concannon for cheap – and give him an opportunity to improve his stock before hitting free agency this winter. Concannon is struggling in ’23 (43.2% save percentage). But at his best, there is nobody better against shots from the doorstep.
3. Jesse Bernhardt to Whipsnakes LC
(This is the last trade to the Whipsnakes – I promise.)
Fresh off his second gold medal with Team USA, Jesse Bernhardt has won at every level. With Michael Ehrhardt and Matt Dunn on the injury report, Bernhardt’s veteran presence would help the Whipsnakes defense (ranked 7th in defensive efficiency) return to its championship-level form.
Bernhardt can play close defense until Dunn returns, and then spell Ehrhardt at LSM in September. He majored in Adjacent Slides at Maryland – and would fit in well with a defense that loves to send doubles to postups and rollbacks.
He may not have many more shots at a PLL Championship – competing alongside his brother, Jake, would make hoisting that Tiffany trophy even sweeter.
4. Tyler Warner to Archers LC
If the Whipsnakes want to go in the other direction and deal players at the deadline, then every team should be asking about 2020 George Boiardi Hard Hat SSDM of the Year Tyler Warner.
The Archers are young at SSDM. Latrell Harris is one of the league’s best. Second- and third-round picks Connor Maher and Piper Bond have been solid. Bond is holding opponents to 13.3% shooting when he’s the closest defender.
They could use some depth. Their pick-and-roll scheme relies on switching – something Warner is very, very comfortable with.
5. Chase Fraser and Chris Cloutier to Redwoods LC
Chase Fraser and Chris Cloutier have both been healthy scratches for Chaos LC’s two best offensive performances. They’re on pace to dress for under 30% of eligible games – which would allow them to opt-in to free agency this fall. Better to get something for them now than to let them grow frustrated and eventually walk.
Jerome Taylor covered four trade targets to improve the Redwoods’ 7th-ranked offense. This package was one of them. A few reasons why it makes sense:
- Cloutier played for John Grant Jr. with the Denver Outlaws in 2018 – where he won Rookie of the Year and the team won the MLL Championship.
- Both Cloutier and Fraser played with Wes Berg for the 2021 Chaos. That precedent of Fraser and Berg coexisting on the righty wing is important.
- This offense had intentions of moving in a different direction when it hired Grant Jr. Personnel has prevented it from executing its pairs set as planned. Ryan Lee suffered a season-ending injury representing Team Canada. They need to find crafty finishers to replace their downhill dodgers.
Cloutier was dealt to Chaos LC for a third-round pick in 2021. This package isn’t worth a coveted first-round pick in the 2024 College Draft. But if Chaos can snag a second-round pick now, it’s worth exploring.
6. Mikie Schlosser to Redwoods LC
Mikie Schlosser is one of the best downhill dodgers in the league. His decision-making at full speed is incredible. He rarely settles for his own shot down the alley – often opting to throw it forward or hit a pull pass to an open stepdown shooter. But when he does pull the trigger, he shoots 34.8% on unassisted looks.
Grant Jr. coached Schlosser with the Outlaws. The Waterdogs have too many midfielders. When they’re fully healthy, they’ll only be able to dress six of: Zach Currier, Connor Kelly, Jack Hannah, Ryan Conrad, Thomas McConvey, Jake Carraway, Schlosser, and Jeff Conner.
Schlosser’s timetable to return is TBD. It’s unlikely the Waterdogs would part with him; there’s no better locker room guy in the league. But they’ll need to deal some midfielder – or risk losing him in free agency – and Schlosser would be the best fit for the Redwoods, assuming Currier, Kelly, and Hannah are untouchable.
7. Sergio Perkovic to Atlas LC
Atlas LC needs to start turning more of Trevor Baptiste’s league-high 78.2% faceoff rate into scores. The best way? Put the king of “time, room, bullseye” shots on the wing.
Sergio Perkovic is at his best early in the shot clock. He shoots 21.5% in settled six-on-six sets – down from 27.8% on powerplays and 28.6% in transition. Atlas LC should dress him as their fourth SSDM, strictly for faceoff.
8. Tucker Durkin to Cannons LC
The Cannons defense (26.0% efficiency) has been better than the league average (27.7% efficiency). It’s a huge upgrade from their ’22 unit (31.8% efficiency). Jack Kielty is thriving as their vocal leader and in on-ball roles; opponents have only shot 13.6% with him as the closest defender.
If this team makes a move, we know what type of defenders they like: Big, physical bullies.
Tucker Durkin fits that mold. He can battle with Rambo and the league’s strongest attackmen. Moving on from a captain midseason would be drastic. But Atlas might need to do something drastic. Head coach and general manager Mike Pressler used the first and third overall picks on players at Durkin’s position. Opponents are shooting 35.8% and scoring on 37.3% of their possessions – both astronomical.
9. Bryan Costabile to Redwoods LC
Bryan Costabile is set to hit free agency this winter. If Atlas LC’s season continues on this trajectory, it’ll be tougher to re-sign Costabile – who will have offers from many teams.
What would it cost for the Redwoods to land him now?
What would it cost in mid-August if Atlas can’t turn this around?
Redwoods LC head coach and general manager Nat St. Laurent should be asking daily. The price will continue to drop.
10. Jules Heningburg to Chrome LC
A natural attackman, Jules Heningburg moved to midfield in 2021. He’s most comfortable (and dangerous) when inverting. This trade could mean a full-time return to X.
Chrome LC has struggled to generate quality looks from X. They’re shooting 15.4% when initiating from below GLE. The ball hasn’t spun the same way it did in 2022; Chrome ranks fourth in passes per game (211.6) after leading the league in that category last year (232.2).
Whether it’s been Jackson Morrill or Brendan Nichtern behind the cage, Chrome has yet to find its offensive identity. They run a heavy dose of razor picks – Heningburg’s go-to at Rutgers. Adding a dynamic pass-first dodger would create more stepdowns for Sam Handley and more hitches for Logan Wisnauskas.