Tomorrow, the CWHL will announce a second group of 12 players who will play in the 2018 All- Star Game, after releasing the first 11 All-Stars yesterday.
Players are nominated by their team’s general manager based on skill as well as off-ice contributions such as community involvement. The player lists — which are ranked from 1 (highest) to 10 (lowest) — are submitted to Commissioner Jayna Hefford who makes the final rosters.
Here’s who we think should be named to the roster.
Brianna Decker, F
Decker isn’t putting up the kind of numbers that could short-circuit a calculator this year, but she’s still one of the best hockey players on the planet. And, depending on who you ask, she might be the best.
Team USA’s top center has five goals and six assists in 12 games with the Calgary Inferno. She’s been productive on the power play and is tied for third on Calgary in primary points, with eight. One reason for Decker dipping below picking up at least one point per-game is that she’s cooled down recently. She has just two points — both assists — in her last five games.
Kacey Bellamy, D
Bellamy has six points in 12 games as the Calgary Inferno’s new star defender. She’s a +12 on the season and shares the league lead among defenders with three power play assists. Bellamy can play physical, she can move the puck with the best of them, and she can create offense below the dots. She does it all.
Brigette Lacquette, D
Lacquette has a chance to set a new career-high in points in a single season this year. She’s off to a strong start with two goals and six assists in 12 games. Perhaps the most impressive thing about that stat line is that all of Lacquette’s points have come at even strength.
Meghan Grieves, F
With 30 career points, Grieves is 16th on the Blades all-time scoring list. A 2016 All-Star, Grieves has three points on the season, which leads the low-scoring Blades. In her third season in the CWHL, Grieves would make a strong All-Star candidate from a team that historically doesn’t have many All-Stars.
Jetta Rackleff, G
After spending part of last season injured, Rackleff has made four appearances this season looking better in each. She currently has the highest save percentage on the Blades (by a narrow margin) and is well-known for being on Team USA’s inline hockey roster.
KRS Vanke Rays
Alex Carpenter, F
Carpenter has become a cornerstone of the Rays in her second year with the CWHL. She has twelve points in 12 games played, making her the highest-scoring player on the team. She’s first in goals on the team and second in assists, proving that she can dish just as well as she can finish. She has a +6 rating and both a shorthanded goal and an assist, which shows that she thrives in any situation.
Noora Räty, G
Räty’s strength in net is one of Shenzhen’s greatest assets as a team. This season she has a .920 SV% and 2.47 GAA, bringing her CWHL career averages to a .932 SV% and 2.00 GAA. She is tied for the third-highest shots against in the league at 212 through 7 games played, which makes her save percentage even more impressive.
Les Canadiennes de Montreal
Ann-Sophie Bettez, F
Do we really need to explain why Bettez should be an All-Star?
Bettez is an all-time great who recently passed Jayna Hefford on the CWHL’s all-time scoring list. She’s proven that she can produce like a star playing both with and without Caroline Ouellette and Marie-Philip Poulin because she is a star. Oh, and she’s currently second in the league in scoring with 19 points in 12 games.
Emerance Maschmeyer, G
Not only is Maschmeyer a household name in the world of women’s hockey, she also has the best goaltending numbers in the CWHL this season.
Her .939 save percentage is far and away the best in the league. Maschmayer also has the best GSAA in the league (6.29) and shares the lead in quality starts (7) with All-Star Alex Rigsby. But you don’t need to see the numbers to know she’s having an All-Star season. Right now, in the CWHL, Masch is as good as it gets between the pipes.
Erin Ambrose, D
Ambrose is currently leading all CWHL defenders in scoring with 15 points in 12 games. She also leads the CWHL with a ridiculous +21 plus/minus rating, which helps to paint a picture of just how well she clicks with Les Canadiennes’ skilled group of forwards. It’s a safe bet that Ambrose will shine in the All-Star game given her skating and passing ability.
Laura Fortino, D
Fortino leads all Markham defenders with eight points in 13 games, twice as many as the next-closest of her teammates. She’s been on the ice for 13 even-strength goals and three shorthanded goals, the most of any Markham player, making her one of the most productive defenders in the league.
Victoria Bach, F
Bach already has eight goals for the reigning Clarkson Cup Champions. She’s been a terror on Markham’s power play and, according to the CWHL’s stats, shares the power play goal lead (4) with fellow rookie Sarah Nurse. Bach also has three game-winning goals and a shorthanded goal for Markham. After 13 games we can already say that the rookie forward might just be the CWHL’s next great goal scorer.
Sarah Nurse, F
Nurse has seven goals in her rookie season and has ten points in 11 games played, tying with her captain Natalie Spooner as the highest-scoring players on their team. She has made a seamless transition from her storied career with the University of Wisconsin, where she racked up 137 points in 150 games played.
Mélodie Daoust — Daoust would be an All-Star in her first CWHL season if not for the injury that will keep her out of Montreal’s lineup for the next two months or so. She’s been Les Canadiennes’ most exciting player to watch this year and has some of the best hands in the business. Daoust had seven goals in 10 games before her injury.