Waterdogs’ Top Targets to Replace Ryan Brown
By Sarah Griffin
Mar 6, 2023
The reigning champions Waterdogs LC are ready to run it back in 2023. Only this time, they’ll be without the best shooter in the game in Ryan Brown after Brown announced his retirement from pro lacrosse last month.
With big shoes to fill, the Waterdogs will be looking for a right-handed off-ball sharpshooter.
“One of our strategies has been trying to get Brownie the ball,” Michael Sowers said last season. “When you’re playing with a guy like Ryan Brown, it makes the reads pretty simple because, it’s like, find Brownie first. If he’s open, pass him the ball. If not, probably 2 or 3 guys are covering him in the process.”
There will never be another Ryan Brown, but the 2023 free agency class offers a few candidates who could fit in well on the Dogs.
1. Jake Carraway
My first thought when considering who could best replace Ryan Brown’s role on the Waterdogs attack immediately went to Jake Carraway. Of this free agent class, he’s the perfect fit.
After former Atlas head coach Ben Rubeor found himself with the second overall pick in the 2022 College Draft and Chris Gray still on the board after Chrome’s first pick, Rubeor of course selected Gray. The addition of Gray meant less playing time for Carraway. He played in just two games in 2022. Despite the lack of playing time, Carraway showed up big for the Bulls in the Championship Series reminding everyone who might’ve forgotten - he is one good shooter.
Carraway made a name for himself at the collegiate level as one of the best shooters in the country. In his fifth year at Georgetown, he became the program’s all-time leader in points and goals. He’s an off-ball righty with insane range and power as a shooter. Sound like anyone else you know?
Drafted 10th overall in the second round of the 2021 College Draft by Atlas LC, Carraway impressed in his professional rookie season alongside Jeff Teat and Eric Law on attack. He notched 14 goals along with 2 two-pointers, shooting 30% on the year. Teat may have gotten the notoriety as the number one draft pick and eventual Rookie of the Year, but Carraway executed his role as the finisher on that attack line beautifully. Law at X, Teat from the left wing, and Carraway anywhere he can take a shot from (which is just about everywhere).
As it looks now, Carraway’s time with Atlas is more than likely coming to end. With his resume and skill set, he could be the missing puzzle piece for the Waterdogs in life post-Brown.
2. Charlie Kitchen
Life post-Brown for the Waterdogs could feature a familiar face instead. Charlie Kitchen’s contract with the Waterdogs is up, but that doesn’t mean the free agent attackman can’t stick around.
Head coach Andy Copelan picked Kitchen up from the player pool last January to add to his group of Brown, Sowers, Kieran McArdle, and Ethan Walker. Kitchen was an offensive powerhouse in college at the University of Delaware. He holds the longest goal-scoring streak in D1 history with a 36-game streak.
An offensive threat at the college level, Kitchen hasn’t had much of a chance in the PLL to prove himself quite yet. The 24-year old played in just one game for the Dogs last summer and aside from a goal, it was a pretty quiet game for him. Still, with a now open spot on attack it could be a great opportunity for Kitchen to gain the experience and make a case for himself. His game evolved a lot over his years at Delaware; he went from being this goal-scorer with a big physical presence to a more versatile attacker. If given the chance, he could evolve alongside some of the best in the game.
3. Marcus Holman
No active players have scored more goals than Marcus Holman. He’s the most sought after free agent in this class. With his dad Brian Holman as the new head coach of the Cannons, many are anticipating to see Marcus in the red, white, and blue. But with a spot for grabs on the Redwoods O after the Matt Kavanagh trade, the revolving door on the Whips for a body to consistently play alongside Matt Rambo and Zed Williams, and now an opening on the Waterdogs attack, expect a lot of calls for Holman.
On the surface, he checks all the boxes the Dogs are looking for as a righty attacker and off-ball shooter. However, he’ll make you regret it if you defend him as only that. There isn’t an area within range that Holman can’t capitalize from. Up top, down the alley, at the crease, it doesn’t matter - he’ll get the job done. Even with defenders draped on him he’s so precise with his shot he doesn’t need all that much space, but he’ll certainly take it if you give it to him.
We’ve seen teams completely throw out their defensive identities when it comes to defending Holman and his partner in crime Will Manny. Since the two came together on the Archers attack in 2019, we’ve seen defenses face-guard the two of them because it’s the only way they can limit the Bunk Bed Bros. Now imagine defenses trying to game plan to contain Holman, Sowers, and McArdle?
As another veteran presence, Holman could be very beneficial to the continued maturation of Sowers at the professional level. Given Holman’s reputation and the way defenses play him differently, it could create more room for Sowers to dodge.
Coming from a crowded Archers offense to a very role-oriented Waterdogs O could bring a whole new life to Holman’s game, as well as elevate the Dogs as they look to go back-to-back.
4. Jay Carlson
One of the best finishers in the game, Jay Carlson’s been given the nickname “Trash Man” because he does just that - he takes out the trash.
Even in two down years shooting wise for the Whipsnakes, Carlson recorded a 36% shooting percentage in 2022 (10G) and 38% in 2021 (18G). His opponents know if he’s at the doorstep, it’s already too late. And though he’s most known for his “garbage” goals at the crease, really any chance he’s given in the interior is all he needs. With the vision McArdle and Sowers both have as feeders, the three of them on an attack line together could be very frustrating for opposing defenses.
The Whipsnakes still don’t seem to have a set third attackman to play with Rambo and Zed after a season of flip flopping between Carlson and young guys like Jackson Reid and Keegan Khan. He’s proven himself as a consistent contributor, but his inability to dodge has kept him from a full-time role in that lineup. A change of scenery could be the best case scenario for Carlson.