Power Rankings: 2023 Preseason

April 4, 2023
By Adam Ruffner

24. Detroit Mechanix
2022 regular season record: 0-12
Notable additions: Joe Simonelli
Notable losses: Kevin Anthony, Jacob Anthuvan, Andrew Sjogren, David Valentine-Elam, Yipeng Wang
First game: May 13 versus Pittsburgh

Only three players have more passing yards than Joe Cubitt over the last two years. And coming off a season that saw him post personal bests in assists (45) and completions (628) while reducing his turnovers to a career low, the 25-year-old is rounding into a true QB1. Cubitt’s mobility, variety of release angles, and deep bag of throws make him tough to contain, and Detroit’s offensive efficiency has slowly ticked upward over the past three seasons. 

But losing top receiving target Sjogren during the offseason is a tough pill to swallow for a Detroit team dragging a 62-game winless streak into the 2023 season.

23. Dallas Legion
2022 regular season record: 1-11
Notable additions: TBD
Notable losses: Matt Bennett, Alex Brouwer, Ben Lewis, Michael Matthis, Rory Orloff, Tyler Reinhardt, Thomas Slack, Andrew Watson, Carson Wilder, Jimmy Zuraw
First game: May 6 at Austin

With a host of veterans departing the team for a second straight offseason, Dallas is faced with a lot of questions heading into 2023. While Kevin Richardson is coming off a career year, and 2022 All-Star Connor DeLuna along with Emmanuel Bilolo and Alec Wilson Holliday are all developing into exciting talents, the Legion are noticeably thin on throwers for a squad that was already second to last in scoring last season; Dallas will not return five of their eight highest volume throwers from last year’s roster.

KRich shows no signs of slowing down as he ages, and can at times provide offense by himself. But without more support, Dallas could get leapfrogged by their new Texas rivals from Houston.

22. Portland Nitro
2022 regular season record: 2-10
Notable additions: TBD
Notable losses: TBD
First game: May 5 versus Salt Lake

No team had a wider variance of results than Portland last year. The Nitro went from being neck-and-neck with Colorado in Week 2 to enduring a nine-game losing streak to close out their inaugural season. Leandro Marx had one of the most impressive individual offensive production seasons in league history, and yet the Nitro as a team still finished in the bottom half of the league in virtually every offensive category, and failed to score 20 goals in six of their last seven games.

A year of experience can do a lot for a team’s confidence, especially after how the back half of 2022 got away from the Nitro. But with the West looking even stronger this season, Portland will have another tough road ahead as they continue to search for their identity.

21. Houston Havoc
2022 regular season record: N/A
Notable additions: Matt Bennett, Ben Lewis, Jake Worthington, Jimmy Zuraw
Notable losses: N/A
First game: April 29 versus Austin

All three expansion teams won their first games in 2022, so Houston has some bright history on their side heading into a huge home opener against the Sol. Head Coach Bex Forth may have been savvily noncommittal in some of her answers on “Swing Pass” last week, but there is an unmistakable excitement about the Havoc, and the potential for a team with total buy-in from its players and front office.

The problem is that Houston faces a steep learning curve by sharing a division with three top-six teams in Atlanta, Austin, and Carolina. The Havoc are going to press every button possible to try to earn their first win, and won’t be afraid to implement some unorthodox tactical adjustments in search of competitive leverage.

20. Montreal Royal
2022 regular season record: 4-8
Notable additions: Brandon Adibe, Martin Gallant, Ian Wallace
Notable losses: Charles Asselin, Quentin Bonnaud, Nabil Chaouch, Vincent Genest, Miguel Goderre, Sacha Poitte-Sokolsky, Hayden Stone
First game: May 13 at Toronto

Following the promise of their 2021 Canada Cup win and a 3-1 start to the 2022 season, the Royal have hit a huge backslide over the last 10 months. Injuries derailed last season, two-time all-star and goal scoring phenom Bonnaud is now gone, and a host of other top playmakers on both sides of the disc—including 2022 All-Star Jakob Brissette—have questions about their full-time availability ahead of the 2023 campaign.

The returns of Christophe Tremblay-Joncas and Malik Auger-Semmar to their starting roles will provide a big boost of stability, as the two Montreal stars appeared in just 14 games combined last season. But even with them in the lineup, the Royal will need production from a lot of new sources.

19. Seattle Cascades
2022 regular season record: 2-10
Notable additions: Khalif El-Salaam, Garrett Martin, Derek Mourad
Notable losses: Noah Coolman, Declan Miller, Ryan Shigley, Adam Simon, Drew Swanson, Shane Worthington, Jeff Zhao
First game: April 28 at Salt Lake

The ‘Scades return important pieces El-Salaam and 2021 All Rookie Team selection Martin to a young roster brimming with skills. The Cascades can attack as well as any team in transition, and they are not afraid of using the longball to stay competitive in games against superior competition, like in Week 11 last year when they almost took out Salt Lake.

But until Seattle can figure out consistent starting rotations, they will continue to struggle in the win column as they have the past several seasons. For all the city’s talent, the Cascades dropped their final five games of 2022, and have had four straight losing seasons.

18. Pittsburgh Thunderbirds
2022 regular season record: 4-8
Notable additions: Jacob Anthuvan, Dylan Best, Jon Mast, Alex Thomas
Notable losses: Cam Bellando, CJ Colicchio, Anthony Davis, Thomas Edmonds, Ian Engler
First game: April 29 versus Madison

There’s no true replacement for the kind of production and playmaking Thomas Edmonds provided the Thunderbirds the last several seasons. But getting back Best, Mast, and Thomas is a close approximation as it bolsters both offensive and defensive rotations with impact starters. 

Mast has been one of the most underrated pivot handlers in the league, and is the Pittsburgh the franchise leader in completions despite not playing in 2022; Mast is currently 10th all-time in completions, and could finish in the top seven by the end of the season. Thomas averaged over a block per game in 33 starts for the T-Birds from 2016-19, and is one of the most versatile defenders in coverage. Best averaged nearly four scores and 25 completions per game in his lone regular season with the team in 2019. 

Yet despite the nice additions and the presence of Max Sheppard, Pittsburgh still has to put together more full performances. They have just five wins across the past two seasons, with four of those coming against Detroit and (now defunct) Tampa Bay.

17. Boston Glory
2022 regular season record: 4-8
Notable additions: Tyler Chan, Jay Clark, Tanner Halkyard, Rocco Linehan
Notable losses: Zachary Burpee, Jeff Graham, Tannor Johnson, Eugene L'Heureux, Willie Stewart, Cam Wariner
First game: May 6 versus Toronto

Similar to Seattle, Boston has a lot of talent on paper but struggles to put it together on field, and has an 1-11 record against playoff teams over their first two seasons of play. The Glory attack has a lot of power, but isn’t always efficient, while the Boston D-line has gone through a lot of hot-and-cold spells as well; Glory had two games with 11 break scores, and six games with four or fewer breaks in 2022.

Ben Sadok, Ray Tetreault, Cole Davis-Brand, and Orion Cable all had great individual offensive performances in 2022, but rarely did so in concert. And after missing the entire season with an injury, 2021 All Rookie selection Tanner Halkyard will provide another big target downfield.

One big thing going for the Glory has been their hot starts: Boston is 2-0 in season openers.

16. San Diego Growlers
2022 regular season record: 9-3
Notable additions: TBD
Notable losses: Jesse Cohen, Hunter Corbett, Goose Helton, Chris Mazur, Sean McDougall, Tim Okita, Zac Schakner, Will Turner
First game: May 5 versus Colorado

As one of the most winning franchises since their inception in 2015—San Diego has just one losing season, and has made the playoffs in each of their last four campaigns—the Growlers might finally be headed for a downturn thanks to injuries, age, and offseason roster departures. The Growlers showed signs of slowing last year, and with no big name additions, they might continue that trend.

Perennial All-AUDL selection Travis Dunn and Paul Lally continue to be the backbone for the SD offense. Their versatility and elite execution make Growlers’ possessions extremely difficult to derail, particularly when they are in the red zone; for all his open field athleticism, Dunn has been one of the five best red zone scorers the past three seasons. But without Helton and Corbett, there will be big questions and heavy production to fill.

15. Toronto Rush
2022 regular season record: 4-8
Notable additions: Ty Barbieri, Geoff Bevan, Jeremy Hill, Mike Mackenzie, Rhys Toogood
Notable losses: David Petsinis
First game: May 5 at New York

Claiming a starting line’s worth of talent from Ottawa, and adding two World Games competitors in Barbieri and Mackenzie has galvanized this young Toronto team for a big turnaround season after two straight losing campaigns. 

The Rush had some crushing early season defeats in 2022 loaded with a roster full of rookies, yes. But they also nearly took down DC and Philadelphia at home, and now add stars accustomed to having big games on the big stage; Mackenzie had 10 goals and 1,038 receiving yards in his last three games with the Rush.

If the league leader in blocks Phil Turner gets some help on defense and Toronto can start to slow down opposing offenses, the Rush could arrive as a contender in the East sooner than later.

14. Madison Radicals
2022 regular season record: 6-6
Notable additions: Anthony Gutowsky, Brian Hart
Notable losses: Will Casperson, Chase Marty, Matt Tucker
First game: April 29 at Pittsburgh

The 2022 Radicals spent a lot of their season playing out of position, with longtime defensive standouts Kevin Pettit-Scantling and Sterling Knoche shifted into makeshift O-line roles. Now with a healthy Kai Marcus and more young offensive playmakers, Madison has returned KPS and Knoche to their traditional coverage positions in hopes of re-energizing one of the league’s most formidable defenses; the Radicals averaged fewer than 10 takeaways per game for the first time in team history last season. 

After two seasons of Chicago’s reign, there is much confusion atop the Central Division pecking order. Madison has historically made the most of close interdivisional conflicts through a defense-first approach, and could benefit the most from a “chaos is a ladder”-like scenario.

13. Oakland Spiders
2022 regular season record: 4-8
Notable additions: Mac Hecht, Jacob Smith, Munis Thahir, Jake Thorne
Notable losses: Benjamin Sokolowsky, Robert Yeagle
First game: April 29 versus Seattle

An 0-5 start and a young defense prone to giving up runs clouded Oakland’s outlook in 2022. The Spiders already feature one of the most aggressive passing attacks in the league, and led the AUDL last season in completions per game. But now with the additions of Hecht and Smith to a roster that already included Chris Lung, Justin Norden, Keenan Laurence, and Evan Magsig, the Spiders have one of the most intriguing lineups in the league, and could make Oakland the true wild card out West. 

Oakland likes to play uptempo, and are powerful in high scoring games dominated by offense. If their defense can capitalize on a few more of their stops, the Spiders will be in the thick of the playoff race for the first time since 2018.

12. Indianapolis AlleyCats
2022 regular season record: 6-6
Notable additions: Travis Carpenter, Joey Cari, Conner Henderson
Notable losses: Trey Dynes, Brett Matzuka, Mason Zetsch
First game: April 29 at Atlanta

The Cardiac ‘Cats were in nine games decided by four goals or fewer last season, and clawed out a respectable 4-5 record. Having the all-time leading scorer Cameron Brock certainly helped in tight situations, but it was Indy’s league-best break conversion rate that made them such a tough squad to beat. Even more impressive: The AlleyCats averaged nearly seven break scores per game on the fourth fewest takeaways per game.  

The team loses virtually no starters, and returns franchise legend Carpenter who missed the entire 2022 season with injury. One of the close games Indy lost last season was in Atlanta, and the ‘Cats have a chance for immediate payback in Week 1 in an all-important interdivisional game against the Hustle.

11. Philadelphia Phoenix
2022 regular season record: 6-6
Notable additions: Max Charles, Kainoa Chun Moy, CJ Colicchio, Tyler DeGirolamo
Notable losses: Mike Arcata, Dustin Damiano, Brice Dunn, Matt EsserColin Masino
First game: April 29 at New York

Nested in a division with the two best teams on this list, Philly has the extremely difficult task of gauging itself against New York and DC at the top of the standings, while also fending off the other charging challengers who want the Phoenix’s inside track for the third and final playoff spot in the East. Sean Mott, James Pollard, Greg Martin, and Jordan Rhyne put out loads of offensive numbers, and the Phoenix defense is set for a breakthrough with all its young athleticism and hunger.

In his final two appearances last year—the playoff game against the Breeze and the All-Star Game—Mott was a dual threat menace as a passer and receiver. He has four 50-plus assist seasons in his last five years, and won’t turn 30 until this December.

10. Chicago Union
2022 regular season record: 11-1
Notable additions: Axel Agami, Nico Lake, Didzis Malderis, Wyatt Mekler, Andrew Sjogren, Jake Steslicki, Yipeng Wang
Notable losses: Nate Goff, Pawel Janas, Jeff Robinson, Kyle Rutledge, Tim Schoch, Dalton Smith, Jason Vallee, Jeff Weis
First game: May 13 versus Indianapolis

After the highs of last season and a championship game appearance, the Union have endured one of the more comprehensive roster shifts in recent years this offseason. Losing franchise cornerstone Janas changes the entire DNA of Chicago, and the other personnel losses can’t be understated for their impacts.

And yet the Union still return many starters and the coaching staff from the team’s two year run at the top of the Central Division. Ross Barker, Jack Shanahan, Eli Artemakis, Paul Arters, and newcomer Sjogren are the best group of receivers in the division, and Jace Bruner captains a defense that still packs a lot of punch and depth. Chicago won’t be as intimidating as they have been, but there’s still a very vibrant winning culture embedded in this roster.

9. Minnesota Wind Chill
2022 regular season record: 9-3
Notable additions: Sam Berglund, Will Casperson, Jason Tschida
Notable losses: Cole Jurek, Rocco Linehan, Rami Paust, Tony Poletto, Andrew Roy, Sam Ward
First game: May 6 at Indianapolis

Like their rivals from Chicago, the Wind Chill also suffered key losses this offseason, particularly with QB1 Roy and Jurek’s playmaking gone. But with 2022 All-Star Game MVP Abe Coffin set to start on offense, and the Minnesota defense finally at full health, this still very talented Wind Chill team could find success in simplicity this season, especially with hosting the 2023 Championship Weekend event acting as a giant carrot-on-a-stick. 

Coffin, Bryan Vohnoutka, Josh Klane, and 50-goal scorer Quinn Snider pack a punch, and have the collective tools to solve coverages quickly. Coffin and BVon can make plays from anywhere on the field, and that range will be pivotal to Minnesota’s successes.

The Wind Chill have one of the longer standing D-line cores in the league. Dylan DeClerck is a disruptive force, and is playing his best ultimate entering year seven. Brandon Matis has been with the team since its inception, and is coming off a career year. Minnesota is smart and deep on defense, and can play a lot of different styles.

8. Salt Lake Shred
2022 regular season record: 10-2
Notable additions: Elijah Jaime, Eugene L'Heureux, Grant Lindsley
Notable losses: Taylor Barton, Alec Benton, Joel Clutton, Ben Green, Brandon Jordan, Garrett Martin, Joe Merrill
First game: April 28 versus Seattle

Salt Lake is coming off an exceedingly successful first season, and has had one of the most exciting offseasons leading up to Year Two. Jaime’s speed, route running, and relentlessness make him a perfect pair for Jordan Kerr and his quick trigger throws. And Lindsley was arguably the best player at two different Championship Weekend events, and gives the Shred the championship experience they’ve been in need of.

And yet for all the positives, the loss of a captain in Merrill and the exodus of several defensive starters—including 2022 All Defense selection Clutton—has the Shred in a bit of a precarious position after finishing the 2022 season as the clear number two out West. There’s enough firepower for Salt Lake to lead the league in scoring for a second straight season. But with the improvements of LA and Oakland (and likely Seattle, too), the Shred will have less room for error, especially when trying to convert break opportunities.

7. Los Angeles Aviators
2022 regular season record: 4-8
Notable additions: Calvin Brown, Daniel Brunker, Devin Cox, Pawel Janas, Chris Mazur, Sean McDougall, Zac Schakner, Jason Vallee
Notable losses: KJ Koo
First game: May 6 versus Colorado

No team improved its stock more over the offseason than the Aviators. Janas was the headline piece, but every offseason addition has the potential for a big impact in 2023 with LA. Throw in the return of every major starter from last season, and LA could be a championship contender sooner than later.

The throws of Janas and the speed of McDougall seem custom tailored for one another, and will add a deep dimension to an LA attack that ran a possession-focused spread offense last season. Michael Kiyoi, Sam Cook, Everest Shapiro, and Marcel Osborne were solid as a committee, and will now have more space to work and more opportunities with McDougall drawing additional defensive attention. 

The Aviators also girded their D-line top end and depth. Vallee gives LA a defender capable of matching opposing teams’ WR1 options, and Cox/Schakner/Mazur are all veterans capable of contributing in big moments.

6. Atlanta Hustle
2022 regular season record: 8-4
Notable additions: Billy O'Bryan, Tannon Hedges, Mike Kobyra
Notable losses: Khalif El-Salaam, Elijah Jaime, John Stubbs, Kelvin Williams
First game: April 29 versus Indianapolis

Atlanta entered last season with a heap of hype and came up just shy of the playoffs for the fourth time in five years. This season the Hustle look every bit as talented, but with a renewed internal focus and more lineup stability. Just four players played in every game in 2022, and with slightly more commitment, Atlanta could see their championship aspirations renewed.

The Hustle have the best deep attack in the league. Austin Taylor has been the league’s premier deep thrower the past two seasons, completing a league-high 52 hucks since the start of the 2021. Zoom out slightly, and the Hustle as a team are completing almost 74 percent of their hucks over the same stretch.

Defensively, Atlanta has the personnel and the system to match up with anyone. Brett Hulsmeyer and Dean Ramsey are two great big trees that provide a canopy, while JP Burns and Justin Burnett lead a group of defenders that can generate turns at an elite level.

5. Austin Sol
2022 regular season record: 9-3
Notable additions: Duncan Fitzgerald
Tyler Reinhardt, Shane Worthington
Notable losses: Ethan Pollack, Paul Starkel
First game: April 29 at Houston

The Sol are explosive on both sides of the disc, equally capable of putting up points on big offensive plays and in transition on the counterattack. If they can manage expectations, they have the talent and schedule for their best shot at a Championship Weekend appearance in this franchise’s history. 

The offensive trio of Evans-Henke-Swiatek is one of the most dangerous forces in the league. They’re seemingly always on the attack, and yet do a good job of limiting turnovers despite sky high production and scoring. 

Austin’s defense is fast and aggressive at attacking space, and add another piece to fit their mold with Worthington. Matt Armour, Joey Wylie, and Elliott Moore highlight a slew of Sol defenders capable of guarding multiple positions, and that can activate as playmakers on the counter.

4. Carolina Flyers
2022 regular season record: 11-1
Notable additions: Liam Searles-Bohs, Ben Snell, Matt Tucker, Joe White
Notable losses: Justin Allen, Henry Fisher, Allan Laviolette, Tim McAllister, Charlie McCutcheon, David Richardson, Noah Saul
First game: April 29 versus DC

Only Carolina could lose four heart-and-soul franchise veterans to retirement (Allen, McAllister, Richardson, Saul), a top tier defender (McCutcheon), and two All-AUDL caliber players (Fisher and Laviolette) and still have a very positive outlook for the upcoming season. Searles-Bohs, Snell, and White are all starters on any team in the league, and Tucker finished second on the Radicals in blocks as a rookie last year. The Flyers have excelled the past two seasons thanks to team speed, versatility, and seemingly infinite depth, and that seems to be the recipe once again in 2023.

Matt Gouchoe-Hanas and Sol Yanuck have been the main throwers guiding the offense, but there are many distributors across many positions in the Flyers system. Jacob Fairfax and Eric Taylor have done duty as longball launchers, while Alex Davis, Anders Juengst, and Terrence Mitchell leverage their quickness to create separation and become precise mobile passers. Every piece has its part and everything contributes to the whole, which is what makes Carolina’s O-line so hard to slow down.

Whatever the Flyers lack in takeaways they make up for in communication, field IQ, and matchup identification. Rarely is there blown coverage, and Carolina generally keeps the action in front of them. Suraj Madiraju and Ethan Bloodworth can stay hip-to-hip on their assignments and make simple resets a chore.

3. Colorado Summit
2022 regular season record: 11-1
Notable additions: Sandy Brown, Noah Coolman, Kai Marshall, Connor Olson, Calvin Stoughton
Notable losses: Daniel Brunker, Dave Wiseman
First game: May 5 at San Diego

In their first season of existence, the Summit already looked like a legit title contender. Now with virtually every starter back and a few new playmakers signed on, the reigning West Division champs are even stronger in Year Two. There’s individual player talent everywhere you look—DPOY Cody Spicer, All-AUDL selections Jonathan Nethercutt and Quinn Finer, bucket getters Jay Froude and Matt Jackson, and All Rookie selections Alex Atkins, Alex Tatum, and Mathieu Agee—and the structure as a whole operates with great rhythm. Colorado was explosive (second most hucks per game) and effective (fifth highest offensive conversion rate.) 

Colorado has the personnel to excel in single coverage, but their ability to send help makes them ferocious. Spicer and Agee routinely float off of their specific matchups to provide additional bodies on deep looks, and the Summit as a whole have a lot of size and physicality in attacking the disc.

2. DC Breeze
2022 regular season record: 10-2
Notable additions: Thomas Edmonds, Cole Jurek, Charlie McCutcheon, Joe Merrill, Gus Norrbom, Andrew Roy
Notable losses: Delrico Johnson, Alan Kolick, Joe Richards
First game: April 29 at Carolina

The Breeze were already built like the team designed to take down New York, falling a buzzer-beater shy of Championship Weekend in the 2022 divisional title game against their rivals. Then DC spent the winter upgrading across their roster in major ways, and now look like virtual equals with the Empire. 

DC ran the deepest and most fluid rotation of offensive starters last season, and now with Edmonds, Jurek, Merrill, Norrbom, and Roy, they’ve got four more exceptional talents they can feed into the lineup. Speculation has surrounded whether all the new pieces indicate a shift to defense for Rowan McDonnell, or just more players playing two-way roles in general. Either way seems to be a win for a Breeze coaching staff that is brilliant at finding the right roles for players.

As they proved in the playoffs against New York, the Breeze have a defender for every conceivable scenario, and are knowledgeable in their gameplan approach. McCutcheon adds yet another to the battalion of quick-twitch grinders who can infiltrate and pick off lane passes; DC creates a lot of traffic and problems in the midfield.

1. New York Empire
2022 regular season record: 12-0
Notable additions: Zachary Burpee, Bretton Tan
Notable losses: Mike Kobyra, Jibran Mieser
First game: April 29 versus Philadelphia

With two of their past three seasons resulting in undefeated records and a trophy, there’s no weaknesses here. You’ve got the reigning MVP Ryan Osgar, Jack Williams, and Jeff Babbitt leading the most efficient offense in the league. Two-time Ben Jagt reinvented himself as a defensive anchor, and joins Ben Katz, Marques Brownlee, and John Randolph among others on the stingiest D-line. There’s size. There’s speed. There’s depth. There’s heart. And there is a vocal confidence that they want to make themselves into a dynasty. 

There’s also a target the size of the Statue Of Liberty on their backs, and even more talent on their contending rivals. Yet for all the opposition, New York is built to withstand the pressure.


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