As the Colorado Mammoth and teams around the National Lacrosse League (NLL) continue to navigate the offseason waters of expansion draft, entry draft and free agent action, we’re taking a look at some of the most impactful players from the Mammoth’s 2022 NLL Championship run.
Finishing its regular season with a 10-8 record and ranked third in the NLL’s West Conference, the squad made its historic run behind the efforts of one of the franchise’s most memorable and comprised squads in NLL history.
Whether it’s the pick-and-roll or double seal action, a step-down laser from the point or flying toward the crease, finishing a one-timer on the back side or slamming home a quality dunk chance … Mammoth forward Connor Robinson showcased his ability to score from (literally) anywhere on the turf throughout the 2021-22 NLL campaign.
After spending his first two NLL seasons with the Saskatchewan Rush amongst the deep pool of offensive talents within its front-end unit, where he recorded 11 points (5g, 6a) in 11 career appearances, Robinson was acquired by Colorado prior to the beginning of the cancelled 2020-21 season.
With Saskatchewan claiming a second-round selection (26th overall) in the 2020 NLL Entry Draft and a first-round selection in the 2021 NLL Entry Draft from Mammoth General Manager Brad Self, initial thoughts on the trade seemed to favor the Rush. But Self and company realized the B.C. native had talent, he just wasn’t getting the opportunity in a system which catered to his play style. Originally drafted by Saskatchewan during the first round (5th overall) of the 2018 NLL Entry Draft, Robinson had the tools to get the job done, he just needed a new garage. And let us tell you, he’s a Mile High mechanic now. OUR Mile High mechanic.
And now, the fun part (where we tell you about him tearing the league apart in his first full-time season)
Logging a goal in 17-of-18 regular season contests, with a Dec. 17 matchup against Panther City Lacrosse Club representing his only scoreless outing, Connor Robinson was (literally) a scoring machine this season. Racking up seven hat-trick performances and elevating his game to an even higher level during a midseason matchup against Calgary, Robinson recorded his first career sock trick (6g, 1a) during a dominant performance at the Loud House Feb. 5. Not just a pure scorer, the forward recorded six three-plus assist outings and surpassed the six-point mark six times throughout the season en route to logging a career-best 71 points (42g, 29a) in his first season as an NLL regular.
42 goals in a single season is an impressive feat alone – Doing it in your first full season, on a new team full of potent scoring options, while tying “Superman” Curtis Dickson for sixth-most markers in the NLL is even more impressive, though, and that would be his story.
Adding five power-play tallies, 84 loose balls and four caused turnovers, Robinson wasn’t afraid to chase an offensive rebound or sacrifice his body while setting up another possession. Regularly diving toward the crease after banging some bodies down low, Robinson’s selflessness ultimately opened up endless scoring opportunities for himself and teammates alike. Working alongside good friend and fellow B.C. boy Eli McLaughlin throughout the championship season, the duo kept the likes of Ryan Lee, Zed Williams and company in the scoring mix while not hesitating to shoot their own shot when available.
Among a plethora of talented teammates, Robinson completed the campaign ranked among the squad’s offensive leaders, including finishing with the most goals, third-most points and tied with Chris Wardle for the fourth-best helper total during the team’s roller coaster of a regular season.
But, don’t let his regular season figures steal the headline. Just as the Mammoth continued its evolution into the postseason, as did Robinson.
Out of the seven playoff appearances Robinson participated in this year, the forward logged a hat trick in five of them, ripping off a five-goal effort May 6 while sending the Calgary Roughnecks into an early summer vacation and following it up with four goals the next weekend in Game 1 of the West Conference Finals in San Diego. The last five games of the championship run saw Robinson record three (0g, 3a), eight (3g, 5a), nine (3g, 6a), four (3g, 1a) and two-point (0g, 2a) performances, respectively, en route to racking up 38 (18g, 20a) postseason points. Not bad for the kid’s first playoff run, eh?
A walking quote, Robinson quickly familiarized himself with NLL fans and a good interview, constantly providing spirited takeaways and reflections, only to be ended with a Loud House-favorite “TUSK UP!”
His energy and personality was a welcomed addition on the turf and locker room alike, and scoring a bunch of goals certainly helps gain some respect as well.
His 38 points in the playoffs trailed only teammate Eli McLaughlin’s 41 (20g, 21a), who happens to be next up in our 2022 NLL Championship Series Review!