There are not even a handful of players to ever hold up the AUDL MVP award in the league’s five year history. In fact, of those five seasons only three recipients have taken home the award. Former DC Breeze standout Jonathan “Goose” Helton won it with the Indianapolis AllyCats in 2012 and then the Chicago Wildfire in 2013. The next two seasons saw Beau Kittredge of the San Jose Spiders win back-to-back titles. Last season it was the surprising Dylan Tunnell from the Atlanta Hustle.
In 2017 the race is wide open. Justin Norden of the Spiders is the flashy pick at the moment, but an abundance of talent especially in the loaded South Division will keep everyone guessing to the end. One almost certain thing, though, is that the Breeze will not represent the MVP winner this season.
That is not a bad thing. The team is not constructed this year for an MVP.
Monroe: 23 goals, 37 assists, 176/ 193 throws, 2 blocks, +39 plus/minus
Cassell: 37 goals, 24 assists, 181/201 throws, 6 blocks, +44 plus/minus
At first glance they both balanced but not extraordinary numbers, but Monroe only played in eight games, Cassell in 11. Here are Monroe’s stats extrapolated to all 13 games:
37 goals, 60 assists, 286/ 314 throws, 3 blocks, +63 plus minus
Would that be enough to get the 6-foot 1-inch offensive cutter in the MVP race? Probably not.
Typically the MVP award does not go to a pure offensive player, as more than likely it is a two-way athlete. This season Monroe has only played in 19 defensive points. When Tunnell won in 2016, he was the exception but was the key pillar in Atlanta’s offense.
So should Monroe have played more defensive points this year? No, not at all. The offense and defense have played almost exclusively with their own lines. Only slight variations have found their way into the rotation. The top seven offensive players combined have 262 appearances on the D-line. That equates to 11 percent of the total defensive lines for the Breeze.
The Breeze have been built for a playoff run this season with full team contribution. There are clear O-lines and D-lines, that even with the craziness of an AUDL season, have played together for the entirety of 2017. Ideally, all seven O-line starters and the top eight defensive guys will be available for a playoff game. But if they are not, each unit will be ready.
Four players have reached 20+ goals so far this season. Joining the Cassell, Monroe duo is the top goal scorer from last year, Jeff Wodatch (29) and Chuck Cantone (28). Cantone is really the only player that has played consistently one both lines, partly due to the fact he has not missed a game.
Five players are at 20+ assists and one is defensive handler Rowan McDonnell (27).
Seven different players have recorded double digit blocks, with two being the top O-line players Lloyd Blake and Alan Kolick. The top 16-20 guys on the roster are just as good as any top 16-20 in the league, and that’s the key to the team’s success far more than one or two superstars.
Following the regular season, the league will release the finalists for the AUDL MVP and you probably won’t find a Breeze player on the five-man list. The only list the Breeze want to join this season is the winners on the AUDL Championship trophy.