Which CWHL players generated the most offense?

Knowing how many points a player has is usually an effective means of showing how well they have generated offense. However included in those points can be goals, first assists and second assists. It can be argued that first assists have more value because they led directly to a goal while a second assist may have a higher relation to luck.

With that in mind we will compare the top ten CWHL players in terms of overall points and first points (goals and first assists only).

graph
tP= total points, tPr2= total points rank, P1r-= first points rank, rDiff= points ranking difference

As can be seen based on the above table some players received more “help” from their teammates than others did. Both Cathy Chartrand and Julie Chu of the Montreal Stars were ranked seven spots lower in terms of first points. While Kim Deschenes and Jessica Campbell were nine and six spots higher respectively in terms of first points.

These types of statistics help to give a better idea of which players to key in on in order to shut down the opposition offense. Players that have larger differences in ranks may have misleading point totals and more time should be spent checking others.

The best CWHL Players to have on the ice in close games

This past season I was very excited to have worked directly with both the Head Coach and General Manager of the Boston Blades to provide analytics reports to help win games. I was able to develop a number of metrics based on the statistics tracked in the CWHL to assist with coaching decisions.

An interesting one is Close Goals For Percentage. This is a measure of the percentage of goals the player was on the ice for while the score was within one goal in the first and second periods and when tied in the third period. This helps to give a better idea of which players should be sent over the boards in tight games when you are looking for a win.

The table pictured below has the top 20 skaters on the ice for at least five total close goals listed by their Close Goals for percentage relative to their teammates.

The column headers are defined as follows:

  • GP – games played
  • tP – total points
  • GFc – close goals for on ice
  • tGc – close goals for and against on ice
  • cGF% – close goals for percentage
  • cGF%rel – close goals for percentage relative to their teammates
The top player for each team:
  • Boston Blades – Kacey Bellamy
  • Brampton Thunder – Leah Whittaker
  • Calgary Inferno – Jenna Cunningham
  • Montreal Stars – Marieve Provost
  • Toronto Furies – Kelly Terry
It is worth noting that the Clarkson Cup winning goal scorer Janine Weber is ranked fourth overall and second on the Boston Blades in terms of this metric. While the other forwards on her line, Jordan Smelker and Corinne Buie, ranked sixth and tenth overall in the CWHL, as well as fourth and seventh on the Boston Blades.

best players to have on ice

 

CWHL Rebranding & New Events

With the flurry of information out there about potential rebranding of some CWHL teams I felt it was time to look into this a bit deeper. The Toronto Furies have been on the block for an actual team logo for quite some time now. So will this be the year?

According to CWHL Director of Marketing & Communications, it will be. “The CWHL is proud to have called the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs a partner for the past three years. This summer the League and the Team have worked closely with Maple Leafs on a branding project for the Furies. The results of this initiative will be announced before the regular season gets underway.”

From what I can gather, the Furies will get a new logo and an updated jersey as a result. It will not doubt be a great improvement and give the team a much greater brand identity as a result. A couple seasons ago, the Furies did have an unofficial logo; however I have not been able to track down the image.

Moving on to the Brampton Thunder, who will also be getting a “new” logo this season and updated jerseys. “Last season the League soft-launched a new logo for the Thunder, which, this season, will be married with new uniforms for a complete visual rebrand of the team.” What does this logo look like and will the color scheme be changing, you may be thinking in your head. This image comes directly from the CWHL website.

a possible new brampton logo? logo is a thundercloud behind the word "thunder", with a lightning bolt for the N. Colors are navy and grey.

It appears that the Thunder will be rebranding to a blue and grey color template with the logo pictured here. This will be a great improvement for a team in need of a brand identity to sell in the large Toronto market.

Along with the new logo, colors and jersey the Thunder will be moving their home dates to Brampton Centennial Arena and we are told that more details regarding this will be announced shortly.

There has also been a great deal of rumors surrounding the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and the potential changing of the name, specifically the “Canadian” reference. In response to these rumors, “We don’t, as you are aware, respond to rumors. However, it is common knowledge that the CWHL has been exploring a name change for the last few seasons, in order to better reflect the truly international composition of our League. For the past five years the CWHL has offered the best American players the opportunity to compete at the highest level at home in Boston.  With the league’s recent announcement that it is exploring further expansion in the US market, the prospect of a name change remains front of mind.”

There are three additional things to look forward to for all CWHL fans. First the CWHL will be expanding its relationship with the You Can Play Project, “In 2012, the CWHL was the first professional sports league to partner with the You Can Play Project and continues to be a proud supporter of LGBT rights. In 2016 we will hold our first Pride games in conjunction with You Can Play and other community LGBT organizations.  More details in these games will follow in the weeks ahead. 

The other two things to look forward to are 2016 All Star Game and a new merchandise partnership, “The league will also announce its plans for the 2nd CWHL All Star Game. Lastly, we have a big announcement on the horizon related to our new merchandise partnership.”

Clearly it has been a very busy off-season for the CWHL, with many initiatives on the go. Lots of excitement will be had by the varying level of rebranding that the Brampton Thunder, Toronto Furies and Montreal are undergoing.

 

 

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.

Friday Read: New York Riveters move to Brooklyn, Boston Blades new managment

The NWHL Signs Janine Weber

“Janine is a big power forward, who has a great net-front presence and knack for scoring big goals,” [Rylan] said. “The New York Riveters are thrilled to welcome Janine to the team and we are excited to watch her game continue to grow.”

NWHL Moves New York Riveters Home Rink to Brooklyn

The NWHL founder and commissioner Dani Rylan, who also serves as New York Riveters GM, announced to media Thursday morning that the League had recently signed a contract for the Riveters with Aviator Sports and Events in Brooklyn, New York.

CWHL ANNOUNCES BOSTON BLADES’ MANAGEMENT TEAM

The CWHL announced today that it has appointed the team of Krista Patronick and Michelle Clement-Billingsley to lead the management and operations of the Boston Blades. Patronick assumes the role of general manager, while Clement-Billingsley is director of operations.

Weekly Read: Poulin to CWHL, Ambrose a top NWHL prospect

Olympic star Marie-Philip Poulin coming back to CWHL

“My first choice was always to come back home to Quebec and have the opportunity to play for the Montreal Stars,” Poulin said in a statement. “The team has a great leadership core with so many skilled players, it would be an honour for me to join such an exceptional group.”

Defender Erin Ambrose a Top Prospect For NWHL Draft

Ambrose has made herself into a boon both defensively and offensively to her team, coming in to her freshman year at Clarkson as one of the top defensive prospects in the country, and immediately becoming a top-two defender for the university. She scored six goals and 30 assists in her freshman year, winning the ECAC’s Rookie of the Year award and placing on the All-ECAC Second Team.