Will the Boston Blades be competitive in the CWHL this season?

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.

Player Position GP G A Total Player Rating Leaving
Bellamy, Kacey D 16 1 9 4.3 Rumored
Bolden, Blake D 20 4 9 5.4 Confirmed
Buie Corinne F 18 4 3 5.0 Confirmed
Cooke, Kelly F 20 2 2 3.9 Confirmed
Decker, Brianna F 10 15 15 14.5 Rumored
Dempsey, Jillian F 20 8 10 8.8 Confirmed
Duggan, Meghan F 6 1 3 4.2 Rumored
Fratkin, Kaleigh D 20 1 6 4.3 Confirmed
Gagliardi, Alyssa D 19 2 2 3.0 Confirmed
Ketchum, Bray F 18 2 1 3.7 Confirmed
Knight, Hilary F 13 8 14 10.0 Rumored
Koizumi, Jessica F 8 1 2 3.3 Confirmed
Llanes, Rachel F 20 0 3 4.4 Confirmed
Marvin, Gigi D 0 0 0 0 Rumored
Smelker, Jordan F 20 8 6 8.0 Confirmed
Stack, Kelli F 2 1 1 6.0 Rumored
Weber, Janine F 17 4 4 5.4 Confirmed

 

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.

Player Position GP G A Total Player Rating
Lamoureux, Monique D 17 5 12 7.9
Watchorn, Tara D 19 6 11 7.7
Pickett, Casey F 19 6 2 5.8
Potter, Jenny F 5 0 3 4.3
Myers, Megan F 10 0 2 3.5
Cottrell, Ashley F 12 1 2 3.1
Laing, Denna F 16 1 1 2.7
Burns,Dru D 1 0 0 1.9

 

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.

2 thoughts on “Will the Boston Blades be competitive in the CWHL this season?”

  1. Statistics are awesome, Mike. BUT, the one thing you can’t manipulate, predict, or graph in women’s sports is the will to win, the potential for excellence on any given game day, and the powerful force of passion. Given your statistical formulas, graphs , and numbers there is no way your stats would have predicted that the winning goal in the Clarkson Cup would be scored by Janine Weber, from Corinne Buie. I’m guessing there were twenty more probable pairs of more likely winning goal scoring combos, (and I’m sure you could list them along with their degrees of probability) but the magic of the moment, in a rink filled with an overwhelming majority Canadian fans the unpredictable factor in women’s sports goes beyond a formula, unknown potential: talent + opportunity+ passion (or the will to win). Don’t count the Blades out of championship contention just yet. They might not be the dream team they were with that All-American roster and Digit Murphy at the helm. Tthe beauty of women’s hockey goes beyond the numbers, and with a spark of leadership (on the ice and the bench), and the combined potential of the remaining and incoming talent, not to mention the brilliance of the goaltender, I am excited by the unknown potential of the upcoming season. Lacasse is supreme in her ability to impact the offensive attack, I predict some assists in the goaltending stats column this season. Mo-Lam is the American counterpart of Tara Watchorn, and I predict Boston will lead the league in blocked shots. Anyone who skates with Hilary Knight improves instantaneously, which leads to my last prediction, scoring will come from a diverse array of players. I’ve been bringing my kids to see the Blades since their home ice was in Somerville, a tiny townie rink not a professional venue by any stretch of the imagination. These players, rise above expectations, never disappoint, and give the fans a master class in competition and heart every game. Wherever they play we can’t wait for the new season. I’m making plans to travel to Canada for the Clarkson Cup again this year. The Blades could surprise the everyone, again. Go Blades!

    1. Thanks Kendra, you are right the stats can never replace true heart and soul characteristics. Love your take on this!

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