Is Shawn Evans the Leading Candidate for the 2014 MVP?

Calgary Roughnecks forward Shawn Evans won the NLL MVP award for the first time in the 2013 season, leading his team to first place in the West Division with a career-best 112 points.

His 112 points were the fifth-most in NLL history and his 80 assists were the second-most all-time.

In fact, those 80 assists were more than his previous career-high for points in a season. In 2012 for the Roughnecks and back in 2009 while playing for the Rochester Knighthawks, Evans had contributed 79 points and that was his high water mark until last year.

The question now becomes whether or not Evans can repeat his 2013 performance.

The obvious answer would be to say no, he won’t play at level again. In the seven years prior to his MVP season, Evans averaged 25 goals and 38.1 assists for 63.1 points. Based on those numbers—which Evans consistently produced—we could say the 2013 season was a single, exceptional year and that he’ll likely return to his previous norms in the future.

However, we also need to consider the fact that the scrappy righty entered what is generally considered to be an athlete’s prime last year, turning 27 years old at mid-season. He may have finally blossomed into the player that he was capable of becoming and could very well stay at this level for several more years to come.

If that is the case, and he remains surrounded with as much offensive talent as he has around him in Calgary, there’s no reason in the world to think that he can’t contend for the league’s top honor for the foreseeable future. He might even be capable of improving even more this year in that case.

The only thing standing in his way, then, is the competition for the MVP award. Garrett Billings of the Toronto Rock, Rhys Duch of the Vancouver Stealth, Mark Matthews of the Edmonton Rush, Ryan Benesch of the Buffalo Bandits, and even Evans’ teammates Curtis Dickson and Jeff Shattler all will be striving to take that MVP award for themselves.

Last year Evans showed he can be better than all of them. This year his challenge is to prove it all over again.