Bar chart, where each Canadian Premier League team is a bar. Bar length relates to roster stability from 2021 to 2022, with longer bars representing teams with a high percent of player-minutes returning in 2022. Most teams' bars are between 64 and 80%, except Atletico (43%) and Edmonton has a tiny 18%.

How much did Canadian Premier League rosters change from 2021 to 2022?

How much have Canadian Premier League teams changed from last year? We know certain high-profile departures, such as Kadin Chung and Lukas MacNaughton moving from Pacific FC to Toronto FC, or Nik Ledgerwood retiring as a player and becoming an assistant coach with Cavalry FC. But what’s the bigger picture?

I assessed roster turnover from 2021 to 2022, based on how many of a team’s player-minutes are returning. All data come from the Canadian Premier League Centre Circle Data, and roster information was as of April 5, 2022.

FC Edmonton are a whole situation. With ownership being taken over by the league, the only returning players are two youngsters on contract (T-Boye Fayia and Darlington Murasinanwa) and two others loaned back to the team after signing elsewhere in the off-season (Shamit Shome and Tobias Warschewski). May the odds be ever in their favour.

How does this compare to previous years’ roster turnover rates? Read my 2021 article to find out!

… or I’ll just tell you.

The average CPL club’s player-minutes stability from 2019 to 2020 was 58%. The next off-season (2020-2021) it was 59%. This year’s average rate is 61%, and would’ve been higher if FC Edmonton hadn’t done its thing. So CPL rosters have grown a little more stable over time. Hard to say why, or whether it’ll continue on that path, because pandemic seasons have so many complicating factors.

How CPL roster stability compare to other leagues? It’s pretty similar. Donald Belcham compared CPL roster turnover rates (2019-2020) to similar-level leagues (analysis here). He found that CPL’s turnover rates were pretty normal.

It’s nice for fans to see familiar players year after year. Not only players who stay with their club from one season to the next, but also players moving among CPL clubs. Jose Hernandez was the first player to move between clubs, going from Pacific FC to Cavalry FC after the league’s first season in 2019. Since then many others have moved among clubs, including league stars such as Terran Campbell, Amer Didic, Marco Bustos, and Dominick Zator.

Many CPL players are now familiar to fans. We all feel sad when beloved players like Andrew Jean-Baptiste and João Morelli go down with injuries. We all felt proud of Kadin Chung and Lukas MacNaughton for signing with Toronto FC. There are villains (José Escalante?), heroes,  rivalries, and memories across the CPL.  Those memories make any given game more meaningful to a fan – there’s context that makes you care.

Enjoy your favourite players on your team. There’s a good chance you’ll get to cheer for them again next year.