April 12, 2023
By Daniel Cohen
Atlanta Hustle: C+
While they won’t have the small handful of John Stubbs and Khalif El-Salaam spot starts this year, nor the consistency of Kelvin Williams (retired) and Eli Jaime (playing with Salt Lake), Atlanta has retained the bulk of their core and are still a top 10 team heading into 2023. Adding in a couple interesting pieces from the folded Tampa Bay Cannons, the Hustle have the talent to fight for the top spot in the South.
Austin Sol: B
Solid offseason for the Austin Sol, as they didn’t really lose much and added a big defensive presence in Shane Worthington, Seattle’s franchise leader in blocks. Additionally, Tyler Reinhardt joins his brother Jake’s team after a productive year with Dallas in 2022 and should serve as a nice rotational piece.
Boston Glory: C
There’s some potential in their additions with Rocco Linehan coming over from Minnesota, the incredible Tanner Halkyard returning to the team, and Tyler Chan and Jay Clark looking to make noise in their first year with Boston, but this group will have to overcome some sizable losses. 2022 All-Star Willie Stewart is gone, as are Boston’s top offensive and defensive players, Tannor Johnson and Cam Wariner. They may lack some of the top-end talent this year that has kept them in games historically.
Carolina Flyers: B
While they’ll be without 2019 All-Star Henry Fisher and lost a bunch of vets to retirement this offseason, the Flyers added three all-around talents in Liam Searles-Bohs, Ben Snell, and Joe White while retaining most of their 2022 starters. They’re still as deep as ever with one of the most flexible lineups in the league, so it feels like a net positive offseason for Carolina.
Chicago Union: C-
This offseason could’ve gone a lot worse for Chicago considering they lost their franchise quarterback in Pawel Janas, along with a handful of others, but they retained more of their roster than expected and even have some exciting new additions, headlined by 2022 All-Star Andrew Sjogren. Still, a lot of their success will hinge on their depth and younger players, as they take on additional playing time and continue to round out their games.
Colorado Summit: A
Already a top five team in 2022, the Summit got even better this offseason. With the bulk of their roster returning, there’ll be even more Colorado talent joining the Summit as AUDL rookies in 2023—Calvin Stoughton is expected to be a star—and they’ve also added some notable former Dallas players in Kai Marshall and Connor Olson. With Noah Coolman rounding out their additions after a promising rookie year with Seattle, the Summit will have a great shot at their first AUDL title.
Dallas Legion: F
Yikes. Pretty much all their top talent from last year is gone, save for captains Kevin Richardson and Connor DeLuna. What little they had left of the Dallas glory days is gone, either to Austin or Houston. They’re also just lacking established throwers, which could be a lingering problem for a team that finished second-to-last in completion rate last year.
DC Breeze: A+
Well, safe to say they’re coming for New York. DC has basically assembled a quasi Breeze all-star team from the past couple years, with guys like Garrett Braun, Gus Norrbom, and Joe Merrill returning, and they’ve loaded up on Minnesota talent with Andrew Roy, Cole Jurek, and Rami Paust coming over from the Wind Chill. Thomas Edmonds and Ben Oort are also sure to have big impacts in their first year with DC, as the Breeze come into 2023 with their best shot at winning their first AUDL championship.
Detroit Mechanix: D
Their list of losses isn’t huge, but Andrew Sjogren’s presence will be missed offensively, along with a couple other 2022 starters. On the bright side, they continue to have pretty good roster consistency year-over-year and with their young guys continuing to develop, I’m not gonna be the one to count them out of winning a game this year.
Houston Havoc: B-
No real blockbuster signings in Houston, but they’ve assembled a solid collection of former Austin and Dallas players that should take on substantial roles for the expansion team. The talent that emerged at Havoc tryouts remains to be seen, but with Coach Bex Forth at the helm, they feel like a team that can make some noise in their inaugural season.
Indianapolis AlleyCats: B
All the franchise staples are back, and with a healthy Travis Carpenter and the re-addition of Conner Henderson, the AlleyCats should improve from last year. Carried by the success of their counterattack in 2022, they’ve also retained the majority of their D-line and come into the new season as the least-worrisome team in the Central Division.
Los Angeles Aviators: A+
The Los Angeles Aviators are going from a 4-8 record in 2022 to a near-guaranteed postseason appearance in 2023. AUDL all-time assist leader Pawel Janas and his six-year deal is the obvious headliner, but LA also brings in former Union defender Jason Vallee, a handful of former Aviators like Sean McDougall and Calvin Brown, and a nice utility piece in Daniel Brunker from Colorado. Still returning most of their core from the past couple seasons, the three seed in the West feels like LA’s floor.
Madison Radicals: C
Losing a top defender in Matt Tucker hurts, but Brian Hart gives them a versatile throwing talent to play with and they’ll look to have a bit more stability offensively with some younger guys stepping up. How impactful their latest crop of rookies are, and how their ‘new era’ guys continue to develop, could make this grade look too low by the end of the season.
Minnesota Wind Chill: C-
Jurek, Paust, and Roy have left for DC. Tony Poletto and Rocco Linehan are also gone. With a chunk of losses on both offense and defense and no huge adds, we’re going to see a bit of a new look Wind Chill in 2023. They’ve retained enough talent to field solid starting sevens on both sides, but the depth is less apparent this year than it has been in recent seasons.
Montreal Royal: F
Real rough offseason for Montreal. 2022 All-Star Jakob Brissette is not currently rostered, two-time All-Star Quentin Bonnaud is gone, along with offensive starters Sacha Poitte-Sokolsky and Nabil Chaouch. Sure they picked up a few former Outlaws, but without any truly notable additions, they’re looking like they’ll drop off a good bit from their 4-8 2022 season.
New York Empire: B
No blockbuster signings this year is a change from years past, but New York added some defensive help this offseason; Josue Alorro is back with the team after a year off and handler defender Bretton Tan joins the Empire after last playing with Toronto in 2019. The Empire still have all their mainstays and didn’t lose anyone too notable aside from Jibran Mieser, who only played the back half of last season. This is still the best team in the league until anyone proves otherwise.
Oakland Spiders: B+
Oakland quietly had a pretty nice offseason, bringing in Ultiworld’s 2019 D-1 Men’s Player of the Year Mac Hecht as well as Ultiworld’s 2019 Mixed Club Defensive Player of the Year Jacob Smith. Munis Thahir and Jake Thorne are also back with the team after a year off, and they’ve returned their top playmakers. This team has a super young core—the first seven players they announced have an average age of 20.4 years old—so they’ll be one of the more interesting teams to watch develop.
Philadelphia Phoenix: C+
CJ Colicchio will be an interesting addition, adding another big alongside James Pollard to deploy on either offense or defense, and Kainoa Chun Moy has shown flashes in his first couple seasons in the league. All the O-line guys that have forged the big-play identity of this team are back, though the team will feel different without a handful of vets like Mike Arcata, Dustin Damiano, and Matt Esser.
Pittsburgh Thunderbirds: C
The Thomas Edmonds loss is big, but they’ve got some nice pieces returning this year in Jonathan Mast and Alex Thomas. They also added Jacob Anthuvan, who had nearly 40 scores with Detroit last year. The offense may go through some growing pains—Colicchio was also a big presence the past two seasons—but with All-Star Max Sheppard returning, they’ll have a chance to get back on track this year after back-to-back losing seasons.
Portland Nitro: C
Portland’s roster looks pretty good, just as it did last year. But the question for 2023 is the same as it was a year ago: what version of the roster are we going to see week to week? 2022 Rookie of the Year Leandro Marx is back, which is the big one, along with Raphy Hayes, Eli Friedman, and Tom Doi among others, though it remains to be seen how often we’ll see the A1 version of this team. Will Lohre received multiple mentions as a top 25 college player in his time at Oregon; he’s an AUDL rookie to keep an eye on.
Salt Lake Shred: B-
Still can’t decide if Salt Lake is going to be better or worse this year, but I think they’ll be better. The defensive losses hurt, especially takeaway machines Joel Clutton and Ben Green, but something tells me their defensive identity will remain intact. The team gets a significant boost—both talent-wise and leadership/morale—with the addition of two-time AUDL champion Grant Lindsley. Eli Jaime cancels out the Joe Merrill loss, and a healthy Will Selfridge gives the offense another versatile option alongside 2022 MVP runner-up Jordan Kerr.
San Diego Growlers: D
The Growlers’ depth is crumbling behind Travis Dunn—there are lots of new names on this year’s roster. Offense is going to have a different feel without Goose Helton, Hunter Corbett, Tim Okita, and Sean McDougall, and this was already a unit that struggled with consistency at times. Time will tell whether they retained enough guys to still be competitive for a playoff spot.
Seattle Cascades: C
Adding back Khalif El-Salaam and Garrett Martin should add a lot more consistency to the D-line, especially on the counterattack, though they did lose franchise blocks leader Shane Worthington to Austin. Declan Miller and Adam Simon won’t return in 2023, so offense is still a question mark for a young team looking to solidify their identity.
Toronto Rush: A
A super strong offseason for Toronto paired with a relatively soft schedule has them looking like the borderline favorites for the three seed in the East Division. Adding a duo of Team Canada talents in Mike Mackenzie and Ty Barbieri boost their ceiling, while several former Outlaws are sure to fill out a chunk of their 20-man gameday roster. Returning the majority of last year’s team, Toronto’s got the right mix of depth, burgeoning young stars, and established top-end talent to make plenty of noise in the East this year.
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