Coming in eighth place overall and second among defenders, th list continues with Cayla Barnes.
How Last Season Went
2020-21 was Barnes’ senior year with the Eagles. She was one of three co-captains alongside teammates Meagan Beres and Kelly Browne. She had four goals and six assists in 19 games.
At just 23 years old, Barnes played in her second Olympic Games with Team USA, having made her Olympic debut in Pyeongchang at 18 years old.
She opened the scoring in the semifinal between USA and Finland with a power play goal. She played 166 minutes in the Olympic tournament, the third highest of anyone on the team. She’s an integral part of Team USA’s defense and could often be seen quarterbacking plays, her puck skills are no joke.
Cayla Barnes is only 23 but she already plays an important role in Team USA's D-core.— Mikael Nahabedian (@hunterofstats) April 2, 2022
Playing big top-4 minutes, she leverages and stacks her puck skills well to distribute the puck efficiently in all 3 zones. pic.twitter.com/EosWVjy4GR
Cayla Barnes is the kind of hockey player who makes everyone else look better when she’s on the ice and that was certainly evident in Beijing.
Lifetime Major Accomplishments
- Olympic gold 2018, silver 2022
- World Championship gold 2019, silver 2021
- U18 Championship gold, 2015, 2016, 2017
- Second Team CCM/AHCA All-American, 2020-21
What Comes Next
Like pretty much every player in the top 10, it’s a pretty safe bet that we’ll see her on the international stage for quite some time. Expect to see her continuing to play top four minutes at World Championships and Olympic tournaments.
Barnes was listed as redshirt junior the last season she played with Boston College (2020-21). She withdrew from BC after five games her freshman season to join Team USA ahead of the 2018 Olympics and also took last season off from the Eagles as well. We believe she has two seasons of eligibility left at the NCAA level so look for her to return to The Heights where she’ll rejoin Team USA and BC assistant coach Courtney Kennedy.
Too high or Too low?
Eighth place is actually one spot lower than she was ranked last year when she came in seventh. Nevertheless, this is probably just about right. Petra Niemenen breaking into the top 10 for the first time pushed a coupe players one or two spots down the list, that doesn’t mean that Barnes has gotten worse, if anything, she’s gotten better since last season. There’s just a lot of talent in women’s hockey, and just about everyone seems to be on an upward trajectory.
Defenders are notoriously difficult to evaluate just by looking at their stats, but it’s pretty clear that she’s one of the best young defenders out there, she’s second on this list only to Claire Thompson. Given everything she’s achieved and continues to achieve since she was 18, you could definitely argue that she belongs a bit higher up on the list.