Riveters Nation was treated to their first signing of the summer. After taking 2017-2018 off to prepare for the Olympics, gold medalist Amanda Kessel will be returning to the Metropolitan Riveters for season four of the NWHL.
This signing was absolutely expected after winning the gold medal in Peyongchang during the Winter Olympics, Kessel was quoted saying she hoped for a return to the Riveters and continue her career. It is always nice to have the reassurance of it finally being official and, put Riveters fans at ease.
This sets up all different types of possible line combinations. Yes, Kessel is the only one signed for the 2018-19 season at the moment but there is plenty of reason to believe the majority of last season’s team will return. We could be seeing a combination of Kessel with Alexa Gruschow and Miye D’Oench. After the seasons both of these players had, this line would be one of the most lethal combinations the league has ever seen. You also could throw Madison Packer or Rebecca Russo in there as well, and you would still have a line that combines for nearly 60 points. That is of course assuming everyone returns and (especially) stays healthy.
As stated, Kessel did play for Team USA during the Olympics and came away with the gold medal, largely in part to her game-tying shootout goal that sent the game to another round. During the tournament, she also notched an assist. Do not let those numbers fool you because she was an absolutely dangerous player during her first NWHL stint. In the 12 games she played during the 2016-17 season, Kessel picked up 24 points (9 goals 15 assists). That is an average of two points per game—and she missed six contests due to injury.
My overall thoughts on this signing are only positive. This is exactly what the Riveters needed in order to try and defend their title. It will certainly be interesting to see where her other fellow Olympians choose to play in the NWHL, for the ones that also took the 2017-2018 season off to train for the team.
Be on the lookout for more Riveters profiles and signings as the offseason continues.