Redwoods Offense Lacrosse
Photo courtesy of Nick Ieradi.

Four Trade Targets to Help Fix the Redwoods Offense

By Jerome Taylor

Jul 19, 2023

On Friday night, the Redwoods' offense had a sluggish start, a trend that has unfortunately been all too familiar this season.  

From the start, they looked sloppy. The 'Woods had ten turnovers in the first half but still found success, including a Wimbledon-esque goal by Wes Berg early in the second quarter. Unfortunately, they didn't score again for the rest of the evening, losing 10-3 against the Archers in a battle for first place.

Their three goals matched last year's Chrome playoff loss for the least amount of goals scored in the PLL.

“We got f****** bullied out there,” Eddy Glazener succinctly put it. “We didn’t respond the way I thought we would’ve. It was a close-ish game at half… and we proceeded not to play well in the second half either 

What’s Going Wrong For the ‘Woods?

At 3-2 heading into the All-Star game, the Redwoods are in a better place than last year. However, their offense still has several unanswered questions.  Specifically, how can they get production from players other than Ryder Garnsey, Rob Pannell, and Berg

Historically, the Redwoods have excelled in 2-pointers, yet this season no one’s been able to throw up a peace sign in celebration after a goal. While this isn't the primary issue for the Redwoods offense, it highlights the lack of scoring from the players closer to the top of the arc.

Let's take a look at the numbers through five games: Anthony DeMaio has scored only one goal on 13 shots, Sergio Perkovic is 0-for-14 with five turnovers, and Myles Jones has managed three goals on 20 shots (15%) without registering an assist. 

This isn't a question of talent but fit, and right now, the midfield and the new offensive system aren’t gelling.

“Changes certainly needed to be made. That doesn't necessarily mean personnel, just attitude and approach,” Redwoods head coach Nat St. Laurent said after the Archers' loss. 

Trade Targets for the Redwoods 

While immediate personnel changes may not be imminent, the struggles in the midfield will increase the pressure to make roster adjustments. So here are some players that might make sense for the Redwoods to go after:

Brendan Nichtern

Brendan Nichtern is undoubtedly a stretch target, but he’d be a needed infusion of additional playmaking. Currently, Rob Pannell leads the PLL in assist opportunities with 33, while no other player from the ‘Woods cracks the top 20.

The 2022 rookie of the year is still adjusting in his second year after a three-week absence for military service, but he’s one of the best playmakers in the PLL. Last year, he recorded 22 assists, tied for second in the league.

The absence of Nichtern at the beginning of this season has been noticeable for Chrome, as highlighted by Nick Zoroya. With his formative lacrosse years spent watching Rob Pannell, a Nichtern-Pannell invert partnership could be lethal to opposing defenses. 

While it would be challenging to lure him away from Chrome, the emergence of Jackson Morrill provides St. Laurent with other options if he decides to make a call to Tim Soudan.

Chase Fraser & Chris Cloutier

Chase Fraser and Chris Cloutier have experienced inconsistent playing time with Chaos LC this season. As a result, Chaos would be more open to trade inquiries regarding them than Chrome would be about Nichtern.

Both players bring championship pedigree to the Redwoods. Regarding fit, Cloutier thrived in John Grant Jr.'s offensive system in Denver when he won Rookie of the Year in 2018.

As for Fraser, he’d be an excellent addition to this lineup for his prowess off-ball.  He has a knack for getting himself in scoring position, evidenced by scoring the tenth most assisted goals in the league last season. Not to mention he has chemistry with Wes Berg from their 2021 championship run with Chaos, where Fraser scored six goals in three games.  

Ryan Conrad

If the Redwoods do decide to get help at midfield, it’d only make sense for them to reach out to the team with the deepest midfield unit in the league.

Ryan Conrad, a gold medalist for Team USA, showcased his talent by contributing 9 points (6 1pt goals, 1 2pt goal, 1 assist) during the Waterdogs' journey to the championship in the 2022 postseason. As the Waterdogs gradually recover from the all-star break, they could become the biggest seller on the trade market due to their abundant talent at midfield.  

Should the ‘Woods snag Conrad, he’d bring his prowess as a dodger from up top and off-ball ability to finish off feeds. Last season, he shot 47% off assist opportunities, converting 8 out of 17 attempts.  

As the season progresses, the trade market will also evolve. If the Redwoods middies continue to struggle, those changes St. Laurent mentioned will certainly be personnel ones.  

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