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National Lacrosse League: Who Will Win the 2013 MVP?

Will Shawn Evans (l) or Matt Vinc (r) win the MVP? (Photo: Brad Watson,
Will Shawn Evans (l) or Matt Vinc (r) win the MVP? (Photo: Brad Watson,
Jim FlanneryAnalyst IMay 8, 2013

Over the course of the playoffs, the National Lacrosse League reveals all of its regular-season award winners.

All but one of the prizes have been handed out so far, with the league's Most Valuable Player award to be revealed on Thursday.

The question is: Who will win the most prestigious of the individual awards?

The front-runner for the award has to be Shawn Evans of the Calgary Roughnecks. Evans led the league in points with 112, tied for the fifth-most in NLL history. His 80 assists were the second most in league history behind the 84 collected by the Toronto Rock's Garrett Billings in 2012. And both his point and assist totals were records for the Roughnecks franchise.

Evans' production helped guide Calgary to a 9-7 regular-season record and first place in the West Division. He was also third on the team in points in the playoffs with nine and second in goals with four.

Consideration will also be given to Billings, who had his second-straight 100-point season, and the Washington Stealth's Rhys Duch, who was third in league scoring with 96 points and top in goals with 45.

But the other person who may garner a bunch of attention is Rochester Knighthawks goalie Matt Vinc. On the season, Vinc led the league in goals against average (10.17), save percentage (.803) and he set a new single-season record for saves with 662.

Last week, Vinc was awarded for his efforts with his third Goaltender of the Year award, making him the only netminder in NLL history to earn that accolade three times.

Only one goalie has ever won the MVP award, and that was Steve Dietrich while playing for the Buffalo Bandits back in 2006. That year, "Chugger" had a 9.97 GAA, an .808 save percentage and he won 10 games for the Bandits, guiding them to a first-place finish in the East Division and a trip to the Champion's Cup, which they lost to the Colorado Mammoth.

While Vinc has had an exceptional year, his 8-8 record on the season might play against him.

My money's on Evans becoming just the second Roughneck to win the MVP, but don't be shocked if Vinc's name comes up instead when the NLL reveals the winner on Thursday.


Follow me on Twitter @calgaryjimbo

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