Each week I will be ranking the nine NLL teams from top to bottom based on where I think they belong at the time. This is my first installment of those rankings. The first week will be a bit tough to rank because just the Washington Stealth and Rochester Knighthawks have played a game. The picture should start to become a bit more clear after the games this upcoming weekend. That said, here are my Week 1 rankings.
1. Calgary Roughnecks (0-0), Once again the Roughnecks have one of the most talented teams in the league so I will give them the nod in the top spot for Week 1.
2. Philadelphia Wings (0-0), My preseason pick to win the NLL championship.
3. Washington Stealth (1-0), The only team in the league with a victory. Tough to rank the Stealth because of how they finished 2012 (4-12), but after knocking off the defending champions at home in the season-opener it would appear that this will be a much different season for the 2010 NLL champions.
4. Rochester Knighthawks (0-1), Rochester would have been first or second in my preseason rankings had they not already played a game and lost. It was tough for me to move them down too far because they did lose on the road by just one goal. This team still has some of the most talent in the league.
5. Edmonton Rush (0-0), With No. 1 pick Mark Matthews in place to help a team that made a playoff run to the NLL championship game a season ago, Edmonton should be a tough task for any team in this league.
6. Colorado Mammoth (0-0), Last season’s best team for most of the season fell off late and failed to get out of the first round of the playoffs. That said, they still have a ton of talent and can challenge anyone in the loaded West Division.
7. Toronto Rock (0-0), Somehow the Rock always seem to be a championship contender each season. They start fairly low in my poll, but don’t be surprised if the move up fast.
8. Minnesota Swarm (0-0), The Swarm went with youth in 2012 and it worked to the tune of a 9-7 season and an appearance in the West Division final. Can they continue the improvement in 2013?
9. Buffalo Bandits (0-0), Stealth head coach Chris Hall always tells me that there isn’t much difference between worst and first in this league. So while Buffalo starts out at the bottom of my poll, it doesn’t mean that the Bandits aren’t dangerous and can move up quickly.