TRADE: Chrome LC Trade Jackson Morrill to Whipsnakes LC

By PLL | Aug 22, 2023

Chrome Lacrosse Club has agreed to send attackman Jackson Morrill and a 2024 third round pick to the Whipsnakes Lacrosse Club in exchange for their second and third round picks in the 2024 College Draft.

Gut Reaction

Adam Lamberti, Whipsnakes Beat Writer: The Whipsnakes attack unit of Zed Williams, Matt Rambo, and Will Manny are playing well together. So why add another attackman in Jackson Morrill?

My initial reaction is Morrill will likely come out of the box and play midfield, where he played last year with the Chrome. The Whipsnakes have tried playing similar players through the box like Keegan Khan and Jack Myers. Morrill is an upgrade over both of these players (although Khan has played well this season). 

However, I could also see Morrill starting at X attack. The Whipsnakes lack a true ‘X’ attackman, and Morrill’s ability to move the ball quickly might turn out to be a much needed change from the ball-dominant Matt Rambo or Zed Williams for the Whipsnakes offense. Then, the Whipsnakes could test one of Rambo, Williams, or Manny coming out of the box as a matchup nightmare. 

Whatever the position, Morrill is an offensive weapon that can thrive in a variety of roles. The price is right for Morrill too. For a second round pick in 2024 and a third round pick swap, it makes sense for both teams.

Nick Zoroya, Chrome Beat Writer:  What just happened? Tim Soudan is known for being extremely loyal to players so to see a player traded seems out of character. When you look past the initial shock, this move makes a lot of sense. Soudan likely didn’t see Morrill as a long term solution at X, he also wasn’t keen to run him as a midfielder this season, so moving him to a new team where he can start fresh while also participating in the playoffs is pretty much the most respectful send off that Morrill could ask for.

Morrill is also a free agent after this season which means that he and the Chrome could always reunite in 2024.

What does this mean for Whipsnakes?

AL: The Whipsnakes offense will flow better. The Whipsnakes midfield is filled with primarily shoot-first guys. The top three guys of Mike Chanenchuk, Tucker Dordevic, and Brad Smith only have a combined 11 assists on the season. Zed Williams and Matt Rambo have ball-dominant styles of play as well, which can lead to turnovers. Insert Morrill, who is one of the best decision-makers in professional lacrosse. He is shooting 39.3% on the season (4th best in the PLL) and has 23 points in 2023 with a balanced 11 goals and 12 assists with only 9 turnovers. While Head Coach Jim Stagnitta has praised Keegan Khan this season, Morrill is an upgrade in terms of what Khan does, which is primarily invert and set two-man games for Matt Rambo and Zed Williams assuming Morrill draws a short-stick matchup.

Morrill’s ability to make the right read (and make it quickly) will elevate this Whipsnakes offense, whether he does come out of the box or play attack. While Morrill is a capable goal-scorer, he was acquired due to his decision-making and to keep the flow of the offense to set up the primary dodging weapons of the Whipsnakes offense. 

What does this mean for Chrome?

NZ: It’s no secret that the last place Chrome offense needs an overhaul. There are certainly talented pieces but the offense never found an identity in the post-Brendan Nichtern era. With Nichtern’s future uncertain and Morrill now gone, it will be interesting to see how Soudan approaches the draft. He’s got plenty of picks at his disposal in what is a loaded draft on offense. 

Brennan O’Neill is a generational talent but Chrome already has a lefty wing. Is there space for both O’Neill and Logan Wisnauskas if neither plays X? This opens the conversation to drafting Connor Shellenberger or even Pat Kavanagh, both capable of directing an offense and winning individual matchups, a skill set that was lacking this season. Perhaps Soudan has more sleepers in his back pocket; Cross Ferrara was a fourth round draft pick from Division III Salisbury and made an immediate impact. 

There is always the potential that Soudan goes after an X attackmen in free agency which means Wisnauskas could be traded or run out of the midfield, allowing the team to draft O’Neill and slot him into his natural position. A player who could fill that role that's on an expiring contract would be Rob Pannell. Would he leave the Redwoods, only time will tell.

The moral of the story here is that Soudan enters the 2024 draft with a lot of options on offense. 

What’s next?

AL: It seems like an arms race in the PLL this season.

After seeing what the Archers were capable of doing to defenses last week, Stagnitta is adding another proven offense piece to try and win another title.

While the Archers seem to be the clear frontrunner to win the whole thing, never count out a team with this much playoff experience and a strong culture like the Whipsnakes that knows how to get the job done. 

I’m not sure if Morrill is a long-term piece for the Whipsnakes, but for this year's championship push, he will help immediately.

NZ: It’ll be interesting to see who the Chrome slot in at attack this week. The first option assuming he’s available would be Brendan Nichtern. If Nichtern is unavailable look at someone like Colin Heacock to move to attack and Cole Williams to enter the lineup at midfield. 

My assumption is that Soudan will use this final game as an opportunity for the fringe guys to prove themselves headed into the offseason. 

While the team will hate to see Morrill go, they’ll be rooting him on during his playoff run.