It was a interesting year for women’s hockey in the USA. There were some good moment (a surprise team won the Isobel Cup, the US won the World Championship, and Team USA earned increased wages and benefits), but also some not-so-great moments (NWHL wages decreased mid-season, North Dakota cut a successful program.) It was a similarly interesting year for Eagles in the NWHL - here is how they did...
Lexi Bender (Boston Pride)
2016-17 Season Grade: Plus for +/-
Bender led all Pride defenders in +/- during her rookie season with a +20 rating - the only Pride player with a higher rating was Alex Carpenter. Bender was also the third highest scoring defender on the team with 6 regular season points. She also scored once during the postseason. Bender recently re-signed with the Pride for another year.
Blake Bolden (Boston Pride)
2016-17 Season Grade: A for PLEASE APPRECIATE HER SKILLS!
Bolden made the news a few times this season - first because of the fact that she has been passed over repeatedly for USWNT training camps and rosters, despite having the requisite talent, and second for signing a contract to play in Europe next year. Bolden is a fan favorite player who works hard and is a terrific defensive defender that also has the ability to score. She was third amongst defenders on the Pride this season with 6 points and 5 assists and was second amongst Pride defenders with a +18.
Alex Carpenter (Boston Pride)
2016-17 Season Grade: Is Alex Carpenter even capable of NOT getting an A+++ in hockey?
Carpenter, who was a member of the gold medal winning World Championship team and was named to the 2018 Olympic roster, had just the rookie season everyone expected from her. She was second in the NWHL with 29 regular season points and led the league with 20 assists and 3 shorthanded goals. Carpenter also boasted an impressive +29 rating. Since she will be training for the Olympics, Carpenter will take next year off from the NWHL.
Emily Field (Boston Pride)
2016-17 Season Grade: B+
In her second season with the Pride, Field scored 3 goals and 3 assists in 15 games, compared to 4 goals and 3 assists in 18 games as a rookie. Field recently re-signed with the Pride and should play a bigger role next year as the team loses a number of players to the Olympics.
Kaliya Johnson (Connecticut Whale)
2016-17 Season Grade: Still settling in.
Johnson recorded 3 assists over 14 games during her rookie NWHL season. She missed a handful of games due to injury, but was still able to play in the majority. Johnson has always been more of a defensive defenseman than a scorer, but she did struggle a bit to adjust to the league and did not record a positive +/- for the first time in her adult career.
Meagan Mangene (Connecticut Whale)
2016-17 Season Grade: Making the most of that promotion.
Mangene was a practice player for the Boston Pride during the 2015-16 season and played in only 7 games. She played in all but 2 games for the Whale in 2016-17. She scored her first professional goal with Connecticut and also picked up 3 helpers.
Emily Pfalzer (Buffalo Beauts)
2016-17 Season Grade: Isobel Cup Champion & World Champion obviously earns an A++
Pfalzer captained the Beauts to a surprise Isobel Cup victory over the favored Boston Pride before joining Team USA to help them win a gold medal in the IIHF Women’s World Championship. Pfalzer was 4th on the Beauts and 2nd amongst Beauts defenders with 7 points during the regular season. She was also 3rd on the team with 6 assists. Her -14 was not ideal, but no player on the Beauts roster had a positive +/-. Pfalzer has a great World Championship Tournament in 2017, picking up a goal and an assist and making some great defensive plays. She will take a year off from the NWHL in 2017-18 to train for the Olympics.
Haley Skarupa (Connecticut Whale)
2016-17 Season Grade: A+
Skarupa, who had 2 points for the 2017 World Championship team but was cut from the 2018 Olympic roster, will have her pick of teams when looking to re-sign this offseason. In her rookie NWHL season she was the third highest scorer in the league with 22 points. She led the Whale in points and in assists (11), and was second in goals scored (11) behind Kelli Stack. Skarupa could easily be the NWHL’s star player next season.
Kelli Stack (Connecticut Whale)
2016-17 Season Grade: 你打得很好
Stack recently made news by announcing her intent to sign with the CWHL’s new Chinese team. Stack, who was passed over for the Olympic team after recording 5 points during the World Championship, has confirmed this signing to BC Interruption. During the 2016-17 NWHL season, Stack led the Whale with 12 goals and was tied for second on the team with 19 points. She also scored a goal and notched an assist during Connecticut’s single playoff game.
Dana Trivigno (Connecticut Whale)
2016-17 Season Grade: I’m too confused to grade her season because she didn’t lead her team in PIM?
Trivigno scored 3 goals during the regular season and recorded 6 assists. She also added a goal for the Whale during their one 2017 playoff game. Surprisingly, Trivigno, who is known for her tough style of play, was only 3rd on the Whale in PIM this season. Like her teammate Haley Skarupa, Trivigno did not make the Olympic team and should have some serious leverage when deciding where to sign for the 2017-18 season.