The Boston Blades have lost many players to the new NWHL and it has many questioning how likely the Blades would be to defend their Clarkson Cup title, or even to be competitive this season. There are 11 confirmed losses to the roster thus far, with five more rumored.
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The Total Player Rating (TPR) is a metric I developed with the Boston Blades last season that measured a player’s overall contribution to their team. I took all the statistics and assigned correlations to wins to get the value for each player. The league average for TPR is zero; therefore anything above that mark is above average.
By this metric the top five CWHL players of last season were Brianna Decker (14.5), Rebecca Johnston (12.3), Ann-Sophie Bettez (10.6), Hilary Knight (10.0) and Noemie Marin (9.5). In terms of team totals they were ranked in this order: Boston (131), Calgary (93), Montreal (84), Toronto (59) and Brampton (46).
With the players confirmed and rumored to be leaving the Blades have lost 88 TPR from last season, which would drop them to 37 total TPR from just the possible returning players without adding the new draft picks. Basically that says to me that the Blades would be just about as good as Brampton was even if none of their newly drafted players are above average this season.
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Out of these potential returning players Dru Burns and Jenny Potter would be the most likely not to return. Even still if the Blades can add five players through the draft that become top 40 in the CWHL in the TPR metric (4.0 was the 40th place skater last season) they will be competing for a spot in the Clarkson Cup. Even aside from that I would expect Casey Pickett to take on a leadership role in the offense and perhaps even return to a point per game pace.
Based on the numbers, and my faith in new Boston Blades general manager Krista Patronick, the Blades will remain competitive this coming season and with a little luck may even challenge for the third overall spot at the end of the regular season.