Minto, Mann and NLL. Shawn Evans not only is a champion of each, but he scored ‘em all within 12 months. That’s the kind of talent we’re talking about when we talk about Evans, a dynamo of a forward coming from the right side. For 6 National Lacrosse League seasons now, he’s been throwin’ it down for the Rochester Knighthawks but that changed on Sept. 21 when the Knighthawks traded him to Calgary on a draft-day deal. A lot of lacrosse guys talk about players with grit, players who bring sandpaper and rub opponents the wrong way. It’s all about getting in the dome of your opponent to knock him off his game and very few NLL guys do that better than Evans.
And after he’s done getting in your head, he gets in your zone and scores goals in a way that makes him easy to despise – if you’re on the other bench.
A season after scoring a career-high 79 points in 2009, Evans saw his stock drop a bit as his numbers plummeted to just 45 points in 2010. But last season, he rebounded in a big way with 24 goals and a career-high 49 assists to again break the 70-point barrier to finish the season with 73 points. But there’s more to the story for Evans.
Remember that grit we talked about? It was a big part of his game for seasons but the knock on Evans was that he had trouble containing that grit and too many times, it hurt the Knighthawks by landing him in the box at bad times. PIM totals early in his career regularly topped 40 minutes with 59 in 2006, 63 in 2008, 42 in 2009 and 61 in 2010. But as quick as Evans was to drop his gloves in seasons past, he dropped his PIMs dramatically last season, spending a career-low 18 minutes in the sin bin. That kept him on the floor to do his scoring damage and made him that much more valuable to the Knighthawks.
It’s a minor adjustment to his game that had a major impact on the outcome of his season and if that trend of smarter play continues, the Riggers will surely benefit. Evans’ career also will benefit and he’s on a course to become known as one of the great scorers in the game’s history. His 363 career points right now may not look all that impressive, but when you consider he’ll turn 26 during this season, it kinda brings some perspective. We’re looking at a guy who’s basically just getting started.
And when he’s not tearing it up in the NLL, he’s solidifying his rep at home with the Peterborough Lakers of MSL. Unquestionably one of the team leaders out the front door, he’s been a part of 3 Mann Cup winners the Lake Show, leading the team in scoring in the regular season (81 points) and playoffs (37) in that 2010 Mann Cup season. And that’s not too shabby on a team that also has John Grant Jr. and John Tavares on the roster. And back in May of this year, Evans was the third-leading scorer, with 15 points in 3 games, for a Canada team that won the FIL World Indoor championship in the Czech Republic.
But at his current average of 60 points per NLL season and considering the way his game continues to evolve, some will argue he should land a bit higher in these rankings. We’re definitely open to that debate but no matter where he’s ranked here, the way his game’s going there’s no reason to think he won’t keep climbing the firstname.lastname@example.org or go to RochesterSports.com.
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