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

 

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.