Reacting to Chrome’s 19-man roster decisions
At 1-6 the Chrome are trying to find an edge anywhere they can. This week's roster sees first round draft pick Sam Handley scratched, the return of Connor Farrell at the stripe, and our first glimpse of Cole Williams. The question remains, will it be enough?
Connor Farrell Returns
Connor Farrell is excellent at winning clamps but all too often those clamp wins have turned into turnovers. He ranks third in faceoff win percentage (70.9%) and is in the top ten for turnovers (13), signaling the highs and lows of his performance this season. Farrell came into the league with a chip on his shoulder. The former DII standout has come into his own as a pro but with two weeks out of the lineup I’d bet that chip is back and bigger than ever. I don’t expect Farrell to waste the opportunity to show the Chrome and the rest of the league that he’s capable of winning a faceoff and taking care of the ball. With the 32-second shot clock that not only means keeping possession, but also moving the ball forward and saving those vital seconds for the offense.
Sam Handley Scratched
It’s normal for a rookie to go through an adjustment period at the pro level. However, being the first round pick means that you’re expected to find your groove and make an impact sooner than later. We’ve seen glimpses of greatness this season but with only 11 points through seven games, Handley’s been a tad underwhelming. There’s no doubt that we’ll see him on the roster again someday, I see this as a coach giving a player an opportunity for rest and mental reset. Until now his mediocre play was tolerated because of the potential we know he has, but if he wants his spot back it’s time to deliver with consistency.
Over the first seven games we’ve seen a revolving door at the Chrome midfield. Jordan MacIntosh and Colin Heacock have been rotating through, Mike Messenger is out with injury, Jesse King returned from injury, and now Sam Handley has been replaced by Cole Williams. I recently wrote about how the Chrome offense could benefit from a top down approach, attacking more from the midfield. Handley was supposed to be a guy that could do that and standing at 6-foot-5 Cole Williams offers a similar build. Williams has been left off of the starting lineup this season despite posting 18 points during the Champ Series. Could Williams be the midfield initiator that the Chrome are looking for?
Find out tonight as the Chrome take on the Archers in Denver, 10:30pm on ESPN+