Ranked 3rdHouston HeatOur defending NXL World Champions, Houston Heat, are coming into the NXL Chicago Open primed to win a tournament. Though they have been in fine form this season they have yet to put another win on the board since the World Cup last November. They made it to the finals in Vegas, took 4th place in Texas and then lost to the Russians in the Quarter Finals in Philly. Ranked 3rd overall, a strong push in the last two events could see them repeat as NXL Series Champs, should the Russians and X-Factor falter. nHeat’s strength comes from the depth of their roster and the bond they’ve forged through their epic wins and their close losses. The roster has been mostly unchanged the past few seasons, though Sergey Solnyshkov went over to the Russians.nThough everyone contributes, and Coach Ryan Smith has justifiably spread the playing time around, Heat has leaned on certain attackers over the years.nChad George is unarguable one on the best snake side attackers in the league and has played the hero for Heat in many tournaments since the creation of the team in 2012. His speed, agility, timing, aggression and ability to prevail in close clutch points has made him a legend in his own time.nSpeaking of legends, Konstantin Fedorov can be unstoppable when he’s healthy, was one of their heroes at the last NXL World Cup and is a versatile attacker who can play any position. His track record of victories going back a decade speak for themselves.nRyan Moorhead has become one of Heat’s more consistent players over the past few seasons and was also one of their stars who helped them win a world title, earning himself an MVP award in the process.nRonnie Dizon has also turned in MVP caliber performances and is an inspiring a fan favorite, once cut from Heat, he is now their go-to attacker on the Dside.nNico Hyde has also greatly improved over the past few seasons and can also be counted on for smart aggressive moves. So can Chad Bouchez--once a missile sent forward for run-throughs, Chad has added a few more skills to his game and has rightfully earned some spins on the starting roster. nVeterans Sam Monville and Mishca Knyazev have been earning playing time, using their top-notch survivability and gun fighting control to help Heat win points.nWith their stacked roster Heat could go on another late season run and win NXL Chicago Open, and maybe the NXL series too.