Dhane Smith

Is Moving Dhane Smith to Attack the Right Move?

By Daniel May | Jul 13, 2023


No need to beat around the bush, but the move has a ripple effect on the rest of the roster.

Dhane Smith is always going to attract the LSM matchup out of the midfield because of his ability to beat his matchup and create scoring chances. So, putting him at attack where he’s going to be covered by a pole, anyways, doesn’t change much. Only now, he’s covered by a close defender.

Smith currently leads the league in both passes per game (39.5) and touches per game (45). Both have increased by nearly 10 this season since he moved to attack.

He’s their most ball-dominant player - at the moment - and it makes sense to put him at the attack where he will get the ball more and have more opportunities to create.

Three-Headed Monster at Attack

The attack line of Smith, Josh Byrne, and Brian Mincius provides three go-to dodging threats on any given possession. Dhane and Josh thrive playing above the cage while Minicus provides an X dodging option that adds diversity to their schemes. 

“We committed to a more athletic perimeter,” said Andy Towers.

Smith makes his living feeding off his wing dodges, Byrne scores at will, and Minicus is their two-handed speedy initiator that Towers has committed to adding. This provides an athletic dodging trio that can create outside of simply two-man games.

Having Dhane a piece of that attack puzzle makes the whole unit more threatening because that is another guy who can take on his matchup with ease. You can delegate between all three options and the others will be able to re-attack off secondary dodges and approaching defenders. Which are more threatening given their individual skillets. 

And anyways, who wouldn’t want one of their top point-producing options on the field at all times?

His Passing Ability

Dhane’s best attribute is his passing. His athleticism and speed allow him to create many of those chances, but mixed in with his elite lacrosse IQ, Smith is most dangerous as a feeder. 

In 2022, teammates shot 45.5% off feeds from Dhane.

Translation: People score when Dhane passes them the ball.

In 2023, that number hasn’t been as favorable. Players are shooting 3-for-13 (23.1%) on Dhane’s assist opportunities. 

If you roll back the game film you’ll see the chances they’re missing are easy doorstep opportunities.  

This past weekend, in the 13-9 loss to the Redwoods in Minneapolis, Chaos shot 19%. They missed seven doorstep opportunities (within 5 yards of the cage). 

This uncanny shooting performance is something that needs to be looked at more carefully. Your best off-ball shooters at the moment, from the midfield, are Ryan Smith (70%)  Kyle Jackson (50%). 

Even the chances Chase Fraser and Chris Cloutier missed on the doorstep this weekend are shots they normally convert on. 

A team filled with Canadians who can score at will from in tight will find their footing and score those chances more often than not. This weekend was an anomaly. 

But, they need to go in if this unit is going to thrive and Dhane can use his best attribute to help the team win.

Dhane is creating high quality chances that the Chaos are missing. It simply comes down to supporting him with players who will put the ball in the back of the net. 

Will Fraser and Cloutier fit as midfielders?

Is having Cloutier and Fraser come out of the box ideal?


It’s uncharted territory for these two, who have made their living at attack while members of the Chaos.

They fit into this offense as midfielders because they are perfect off-ball complements to their attack.

Logically, you’d want them with players who get open off-ball and set effective picks. 

That’s where Cloutier and Fraser can thrive.

For Fraser, 11-of-12 shots this season have come within six yards of the cage.  You don't need to be an attackman to be an inside finisher, instead, you need to get open on the inside, which he does.

The only issue is this past weekend they failed to do so. Fraser and Cloutier missed five total chances on the crease, which is uncharacteristic for them. 

Both are shooting 25% from the field, which is well below what they have in years past.

With the competitive midfield battle at the midfield, capitalizing on your chances will keep you in the lineup.

Do we see Kyle Jackson put back into the lineup this weekend against the Atlas, who has shot 5-for-10 this season? 

Will Perry might not be your inside finisher, but he can provide a strong dodging presence from the perimeter. 

“We committed to a more athletic perimeter,” said Andy Towers.

Are Cloutier and Fraser the perfect example of that when coming out of the box? I don’t know.

Fraser is an underrated athlete and has speed and agility in his back pocket. Cloutier on the other hand is a bigger, more physical player. Not necessarily your prototypical speed dodger. 

Earlier in the year, when speaking with Coach Towers, he hoped Cloutier would add more speed to his game so that he could be run out of the box to add more variety to the offense.

Last weekend’s game against the Redwoods showed that. 

Maybe it was the three-week break, which would have given him the ability to heal from some nagging injuries from the NLL season that would have held him back physically. Or maybe it’s because he gets a short stick matchup. His imposing frame allows him to play bully ball with SSDMs. 

He looked quicker and showed some bright spots. 

Jackson and Perry might be a better one-two punch as initiating midfielders with speed on the perimeter, but with consistent inside finishing, Fraser and Cloutier are lethal? We’ll have to wait and see what changes are made going forward.