Canada’s Sarah Fillier headlines gifted crop obtainable in 2024 PWHL draft

Sarah Fillier is a bit nervous.

Over the past six years taking part in at Princeton College and for Canada’s nationwide girls’s hockey group, Fillier has had her life mapped out. However as she approaches her twenty fourth birthday on Sunday, Fillier is not certain the place she’ll be residing within the fall.

That reply will come on Monday, when Fillier is chosen within the 2024 PWHL draft in Minnesota.

Most anticipate she’ll be packing her luggage for New York, which owns the first-overall draft choose.

Fillier has discovered a approach to rating at each stage, from the NCAA to the worldwide stage, the place she was the MVP of the 2023 Girls’s World Championship. She’s gained three world championships and an Olympic gold medal whereas sporting the maple leaf, and is now poised to turn out to be a face of the PWHL.

“She’s a winner,” stated Toronto GM Gina Kingsbury, who can be Group Canada’s GM.

“She needs to attain. She needs the strain. She needs to be the very best athlete on the earth.”

WATCH | Previewing the 2024 PWHL draft on CBC Sports activities’ Hockey North:

2024 PWHL draft preview present

Host Rob Pizzo is joined by CBC Sports activities reporter Karissa Donkin to interrupt down all the pieces it’s essential know forward of Monday evening’s draft.

Fillier leads a bunch of greater than 160 gamers who’re eligible to be chosen. Declaring for the draft is the one approach to play within the PWHL, which implies it is the entry level each for younger expertise coming from faculty and college, and for veteran gamers who’d like to return to North America from Europe.

“There are so many nice gamers coming to this draft that each group goes to have the ability to add three or 4 important items and enhance from final 12 months,” Ottawa GM Mike Hirshfeld stated.

The seven-round draft begins at 7 p.m. ET on Monday and will likely be broadcast on the PWHL’s YouTube channel.

Ottawa picks second after New York, adopted by Minnesota, Boston, Montreal and Toronto. The order will repeat over every spherical.

Here is a take a look at what every group wants going into the draft, and a prospect who might fill that want: 

New York

After an inconsistent season, GM Pascal Daoust stated final month that he is on the lookout for a participant who will compete for 60 minutes each evening.

New York’s goaltenders confronted extra pictures than another group within the league final season, whereas the group scored the second-fewest targets within the PWHL behind Boston.

Enter Fillier, who has spent years absorbing classes on work ethic from Canadian teammates Brianne Jenner and Marie-Philip Poulin, specializing in how they’re at all times making an attempt to get higher.

She might slot behind Alex Carpenter as New York’s second-line centre and power opposing groups to discover a approach to match each of them. Or Fillier might play on the wing, a place she’s discovered over the previous couple of months, and see if she will use her hockey IQ to create magic with Carpenter, probably the greatest shooters within the recreation.

Three female ice hockey players skate toward each other while smiling with arms wide open in an arena filled with cheering fans.
Fillier, center, celebrates with defender Renata Quick and ahead Sarah Nurse after scoring on the world championship in Brampton, Ont., in 2023. She was named MVP of that match. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

It is within the latter position that Fillier has discovered a approach to open herself as much as create offence off the push.

“It is made me higher at each positions, particularly breaking out and understanding the place persons are going to be and the place the very best place to place the puck for folks is,” Fillier stated.

She plans to spend her summer time engaged on her puck safety, one thing she thinks will likely be key to face up to the elevated physicality of professional hockey.


At second general, Hirshfeld stated he is on the lookout for a “generational” participant who may be with the group for the subsequent three years.

“We’re on the lookout for somebody who brings a ton of expertise to the ice and may proceed to develop, but additionally is a good particular person,” the GM stated.

He additionally needs to get harder and grittier to play in opposition to subsequent season. Assuming Fillier goes first, Colgate College ahead Danielle Serdachny might verify all these packing containers.

She would give Ottawa three strong centre choices with Gabbie Hughes and, assuming she is re-signed, Kateřina Mrázová.

A female hockey player wearing red and white Canadian gear is seen celebrating a goal with both of her hands in the air.
Danielle Serdachny scored the golden aim in extra time in opposition to Group USA on the world championship in April. (Christinne Muschi/The Canadian Press)

A lot of the forwards who had success within the PWHL final season have been capable of maintain their very own in entrance of the online, and that is one thing Serdachny ought to have the ability to do, given her measurement and skating capacity. She additionally has shot and confidence to shoot, scoring the golden aim for Group Canada on the world championship in April. 


Reigning Walter Cup-champion Minnesota is a group that thrives on talent and velocity, with gamers like Taylor Heise, Kendall Coyne Schofield and Grace Zumwinkle locked up for an additional two years.

Including left wing Hannah Bilka (Ohio State College) might make Minnesota’s top-six scary. 

“She’s fast, she’s quick, she’s sporadic,” stated defender Cayla Barnes, Bilka’s faculty teammate.

“You understand you will get loads of creativity out of her and you understand she will put the puck within the web. She’s a brilliant particular participant. She works actually onerous and any group can be tremendous fortunate to have her.”

Minnesota might additionally go for a veteran in ahead Amanda Kessel, reuniting her with a number of Group USA teammates together with Heise, who she performed properly with on the world championship in 2022.


Boston’s greatest drawback final season was scoring targets.

Barnes may very well be an ideal match alongside Megan Keller on the blueline, and will add one other puck mover to an influence play that struggled mightily.

Barnes is not the largest participant however is a gentle defender. She has a ton of expertise, having gained an Olympic gold medal with Group USA in 2018 at solely 19.

Boston might add extra offence up entrance by free company or within the second spherical, the place Kessel or Izzy Daniel might nonetheless be obtainable. Daniel gained the Patty Kazmaier Award as the very best participant in feminine faculty hockey final season with Cornell College, placing up 59 factors in 34 video games.

Two hockey players vie for the puck under a goaltender.
Cayla Barnes (3) battles for place with Canadian ahead Laura Stacey throughout a Rivalry Sequence recreation final December. (Geoff Robins/The Canadian Press)


A dream state of affairs for Montreal would see defender Claire Thompson, Erin Ambrose’s former Group Canada defence accomplice, obtainable at quantity 5.

Ambrose logged a ton of minutes on Montreal’s blueline final 12 months, together with greater than 61 minutes in a triple-overtime playoff loss to Boston.

One other dependable defender is probably going on the prime of Montreal’s low season purchasing checklist and Thompson suits the invoice.

A female hockey player wearing a Team Canada jersey competes for the puck. An American skater is behind her.
Canadian defender Claire Thompson broke an Olympic file in 2022, scoring essentially the most factors by a defender. She’ll add talent and smarts to a PWHL blueline. (John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports activities/Reuters)

Thompson was on New York’s reserve checklist final season whereas attending medical college, however could not play as a consequence of a visa subject. However she’s proven her hockey IQ whereas taking part in for Group Canada up to now, setting a brand new file for factors by a defender on the Olympics in 2022.

Montreal might additionally use one other top-six ahead however there ought to nonetheless be choices obtainable within the second spherical, whether or not it is Daniel, Ohio State ahead Jennifer Gardiner or Abby Boreen, who enters the draft already a Walter Cup champion as a reserve with PWHL Minnesota final season.


Toronto is getting ready for the likelihood that the group’s finest participant might not be obtainable to start out the season. Natalie Spooner posted a photograph on social media earlier this week that confirmed she’s recovering from surgical procedure, after a knee harm took her out of the playoffs.

With that in thoughts, Kingsbury stated the group is trying for extra offence this low season, particularly with the likelihood that Spooner would possibly miss a while.

Up entrance, a participant who might replicate among the components Spooner brings is St. Lawrence College ahead Julia Gosling, and he or she’s somebody each Kingsbury and head coach Troy Ryan are conversant in.

She was the youngest participant centralized with Group Canada forward of the 2022 Olympics. She made her world championship debut this previous spring on a stellar fourth line with Serdachny and Kristin O’Neill.

Gosling describes herself as a 200-foot energy ahead.

“I am fairly tall and I’ve a reasonably good shot, so every time I can launch that shot, I am a reasonably large menace in simply driving pucks to the online, getting in entrance of the online,” Gosling stated.

“But additionally caring for the D-zone and getting again and being a again checker, and serving to out down there as a result of I do not like getting scored in opposition to, both.”

Ought to Toronto go for defensive assist, veteran Finnish defender Ronja Savolainen might add measurement and talent to the blueline. She’d slot in properly on what’s already one of the vital bodily groups within the league.

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