The staff at Inside Lacrosse has Rhys Duch #12 on their top 50 players list. The following is what their writers had to say about the Stealth’s all-time leader in goals, assists, and points:
The argument often centers on quality vs. quantity. But for Rhys Duch, it’s both.
It’s been an amazing 7 National Lacrosse League seasons for the right-hander out of Victoria, B.C. He burst out of the gates with a rookie record 89 points in 2009 and hasn’t slowed down a bit. In 2015, he had career bests of 41 goals and 62 assists for 103 points.
Amazingly, Duch is the first Stealth player to clear the 100-point plateau since Colin Doyle did it in San Jose in 2009, Duch’s rookie season. It helped that the Stealth traded for left-hander Corey Small, pulling some of the defense to his side to clear space for Duch. The offensive ability of Duch has never been in question, but having help like he got with Small and other quality shooters kept opposing defenses honest and that not only helped Duch, it helped the Stealth.
That’s why Duch was able to produce even more than what we’ve come to expect from him. Having Small as a summer teammate will no doubt prove beneficial for the 2016 NLL season as well. Duch scored 75 points for the Victoria Shamrocks in the regular season, then added 34 points in the WLA playoffs before adding 15 points in 6 games to help the Shamrocks win the 2015 Mann Cup.
Indeed, there are points aplenty when it comes to Duch. And that’s going to continue for years to come. He’s one of the game’s elite snipers by his own right and now that he’s got some help on the floor to be part of a balanced look, there’s no reason to think his numbers won’t continue to skyrocket. And while the points pile up, you can count on them to come in timely fashion or even with a sweet style. And after that, well have the quality vs. quantity talk.
Duch had the best season of his splendid NLL career in 2015. He hit the 40-goal mark for the third time. The real difference, though, was that his 62 assists were 11 more than he had ever accumulated before. You can attribute a fair number of those to the chemistry that Duch and Corey Small have developed over the past three summers with the Victoria Shamrocks. Duch has always been ready to fire the ball given any time and space, and that approach has worked exceptionally well for him. But now he has added some extra nuance to his game, forcing defenders to honour the pass just a little more. Of course, that in turn opens up shooting lanes for him. It’s a win/win that is paying huge dividends for the Stealth.
Duch has been a mainstay on the Stealth for seven seasons and is an NLL elite player for sure. Since Duch was selected No. 3 overall at the 2008 draft, he has been nothing short of a superstar in every NLL season he has played. This regularity in points generated proves that Vancouver’s offense goes through Duch and that his decision-making skills are strong. Quick feet and a deadly outside shot make Rhys a wanted man by the opposition. Should be interesting to see how Billings and Duch share the spotlight in 2016.
I’ve always loved the approach of Duch. He’s doing what he was born to do as an athlete, which is to be a smooth and vital part of an offense. He moves so well from space to space, utilizes the areas he’s in to maximize the team offense and pretty much just leads by example. He’s the kind of guy who finds ways to make it work, no matter where he’s playing and that’s what makes him the complete offensive player that he is.