Back in 2016, Randy Staats put the lacrosse world on notice with his NLL rookie record-setting 95 points (36G, 59A), rightfully winning Rookie of the Year.
In 2017, Staats was actually outperforming his rookie campaign, but injuries shortened his season and prevented him from surpassing those totals. Then 2017-18 was a step back for Staats, who finished with 69 points (30G, 39A) in 16 games.
Granted, a 30-goal season and 4.31 PTS/GAME pace is a very productive forward in the NLL, but it’s a far cry from the roughly 100-point pace he established his first two seasons.
After a 96 point (37G, 59A) 2018-19 season, it’s fair to say that Staats was back to posting high stats.
His 37 goals are a new career high, and his 59 assists match his rookie-setting high.
Proof that Staats is making positive strides is how his S% has noticeably increased compared to his sophomore and junior seasons.
The Syracuse University alum is getting more shots back on net. Coupled with a rebound in his shooting accuracy and that he played almost every Swarm game this season, there’s enough evidence that Staats is back where we expect him to be.
But it’s not where he wants to be yet.
“Most of our conversations are him beating himself up about missed shots or missed opportunities or things that didn’t go right,” Swarm assistant coach Dan Ladouceur said. “Meanwhile, he’s gone out and put up great numbers and does amazing things. He’s really hard on himself and holds himself to a high standard, and you can see from his game where that takes him.”
With that drive to be better, innate talent, and the chemistry he’s formed with Lyle Thompson on the right side, Staats’ game can take him to new heights next season. And we’ll get to be along for the ride.
Best Feeder in the League
Yeah, Staats can score – the two nouns are synonymous. But we’ve all experienced a handful of moments last season where he’ll toss the rock to a teammate, said teammate will score, and we’re still just stuck on how beautiful the feed was instead of the goal that was just scored.
“His stick skills in his hands are so nice, even when he’s throwing a high-risk pass, a lot of times he’s making those, and he has the confidence to throw those,” Ladouceur said. “It makes him effective and everyone around him better.
“And we’re not talking about wide-open guys; we’re talking about guys with a step on a defender. And he puts balls where guys can reach them and still have an opportunity to get shots off. He’s probably one of the most creative feeders that I’ve ever watched.”
45 of his 59 assists this year were primary assists, a whopping 76.27%, highest on the Swarm. The 26-year-old had five games where he had five or more assists, including a season-high eight against the Rochester Knighthawks on Feb. 2. His three shorthanded assists, most on the team, were all beauty feeds to Shayne Jackson.
Staats has the vision and hands to make his apples the smoothest in the land, and it’s part of why he’s more than just a dangerous scorer.
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