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How each PWHL workforce takes care of the 2024 draft

When groups face off in opposition to PWHL New York subsequent season, they face the prospect of getting to attempt to match two offensive threats down the center.

First, there’s Alex Carpenter, who’s a danger to attain from wherever on the ice.

Coming over the boards subsequent may very well be first-overall choose Sarah Fillier, a participant with offensive creativity in spades. She’s scored at each stage she’s performed at, together with on the worldwide stage with the Canadian nationwide workforce.

“She’s performed already in opposition to the very best on this planet, with the very best on this planet,” New York GM Pascal Daoust instructed reporters after choosing Fillier with the primary choose within the 2024 PWHL Draft in Minnesota on Monday night time. “She’s at all times excellent dealing with them or enjoying with them.”

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PWHL 1st-overall choose Sarah Fillier on becoming a member of New York

The 24-year-old ahead from Georgetown, Ont., shares her favorite reminiscences from a particular night time.

Each workforce within the six-team league received higher at Monday’s draft, which noticed 42 gamers chosen from seven completely different nations. The vast majority of these gamers got here from school, however groups additionally stocked up on veteran expertise from Europe.

Subsequent on the low season calendar is free company on June 21. Here is how all six groups take care of the draft:

Ottawa

Watching the gamers who had probably the most success in season one, Ottawa GM Mike Hirshfeld went into his second draft with two objectives: get more durable and gritter, and add measurement. He checked each packing containers throughout the first two picks.

Ottawa chosen Edmonton’s Danielle Serdachny second general, including a play-making energy ahead who ought to be capable of contribute within the PWHL instantly.

Serdachny, who scored the golden objective on the world championship for Crew Canada this previous spring, ought to carry the competitiveness and grit that Hirshfeld was after.

A hockey player falls on the ice in front of the boards.
Defender Ronja Savolainen (88) provides measurement and mobility to Ottawa’s blue line. (Petr David Josek/The Related Press)

On the blue line, Ottawa added 26-year-old Finnish defender Ronja Savolainen from the Swedish Girls’s Hockey League (SDHL) within the second spherical, including some measurement and extra mobility.

Ottawa appears set on defence with 5 gamers beneath contract and three extra drafted on Monday. The most important precedence over the following week can be attempting to re-sign two-thirds of its greatest line final season: forwards Daryl Watts and Kateřina Mrázová.

Whereas Ottawa has supplied a contract extension to back-up goalie Sandra Abstreiter, Hirshfeld additionally drafted Northeastern College’s Gwyneth Philips. Starter Emerance Maschmeyer had one of many greatest workloads within the league final season, and Philips might problem for some video games.

Toronto

The most important query mark for Toronto is whether or not Natalie Spooner, the winner of each ahead of the yr and the Billie Jean King MVP Award, can be prepared to begin subsequent season. Spooner had surgical procedure after struggling a knee damage through the playoffs.

Whereas Toronto hopes to see Spooner again quickly, GM Gina Kingsbury drafted a participant within the first spherical who can carry loads of related components.

London, Ont.’s Julia Gosling brings measurement and the flexibility to drive the online, abilities that helped Spooner put up extra objectives and factors than anybody else final season. 

Three hockey players celebrate a goal.
Julia Gosling (88) brings measurement and a net-front presence to PWHL Toronto. (Christinne Muschi/The Canadian Press)

Gosling skated with Spooner final summer season and even introduced Spooner ice cream after her surgical procedure final week.

Spooner sees Gosling as somebody who can play the online entrance position effectively.

“She’s received a greater shot than I’ve,” she mentioned.

Toronto drafted one other Ontarian in Milton, Ont.’s Megan Carter, a defender who Kingsbury described as a “steal.” She thinks she’s going to be capable of play within the league like a veteran immediately.

“We love what she brings when it comes to physicality, when it comes to reliability,” Kingsbury mentioned.

Ahead Izzy Daniel, winner of the Patty Kazmaier Award as the very best feminine participant in school hockey final season, went to Toronto within the third spherical. Daniel excels at discovering methods to create house for herself, smarts that would assist her transition rapidly to the professional sport, Kingsbury mentioned.

Montreal

Montreal’s greatest low season want was a high defender, and that is precisely what Montreal received within the first spherical with Cayla Barnes.

She’s solely 25 however is already a veteran on the U.S. nationwide workforce, having received a gold medal in 2018. She additionally received a nationwide championship with Ohio State College this previous season, a sport that was contemporary in Montreal GM Danièle Sauvageau’s thoughts heading into the draft.

WATCH | Meet the latest faces on PWHL Montreal:

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Cayla Barnes and Jennifer Gardiner, who received an NCAA title as Ohio State teammates, had been elated to each be chosen by Montreal on the 2024 PWHL draft.

“I believe she’s going to have such a huge effect immediately,” mentioned Montreal defender Erin Ambrose, who was named defender of the yr on Tuesday.

However Montreal’s greatest win of the day may need come a number of hours earlier than the draft began. The workforce introduced it had its Fifteenth-round choose from final season, Swedish ahead Lina Ljungblom, to a three-year contract.

Ljungblom wasn’t capable of come to North America this previous season due to an present contract in Sweden. Her head coach at MoDo Hockey, Jared Cipparone, instructed CBC Sports activities earlier this yr that Ljungblom has at all times been a scorer, however her play away from the puck has improved this season.

It appears like there are a number of candidates to fill a gap within the high six, from Ljungblom, to third-round choose Abby Boreen, who performed a top-six position in Minnesota on reserve final season, to Crew USA veteran Amanda Kessel, ought to she play for Montreal.

New York

Past Fillier, Daoust felt he added extra physicality on his blue line, beginning with Swedish defender Maja Nylén Persson, who went within the second spherical.

Daoust additionally added the Swedish Girls’s Hockey League’s main scorer final season, Finnish veteran Noora Tulus, and the one U Sports activities participant taken within the draft, Concordia College captain Emmy Fecteau, to his ahead ranks.

Two people shake hands on a stage.
Ahead Noora Tulus shakes palms with New York GM Pascal Daoust after he chosen her on the 2024 PWHL Draft. (Heather Pollock/PWHL)

Each gamers carry expertise profitable, with Tulus a champion within the Swedish league, and Fecteau on the nationwide college stage.

Past the draft, the workforce checked off certainly one of its greatest low season to-do record objects on Tuesday, re-signing goaltender of the yr nominee Corinne Schroeder to a two-year deal.

Boston

Boston struggled to attain objectives this season and completed with the worst energy play within the league. Fourth-overall choose Hannah Bilka ought to assist.

“Going into this draft, I believe we’d like a dynamic ahead who performs with tempo and has a excessive hockey IQ and I believe we discovered that with Hannah Bilka,” Boston GM Danielle Marmer mentioned.

Having Bilka on the ice to win pucks again could assist create alternatives for a few of Boston’s different gamers, too, Marmer mentioned.

“We have got so many gifted objective scorers on our workforce, and now we have now the participant to get them the puck,” she mentioned.

Additionally excessive on Marmer’s guidelines was a puck-mover on defence who can skate effectively. Boston swapped picks with New York to maneuver up within the draft and choose Czech defender Daniela Pejšová with the seventh-overall choose.

Minnesota

Minnesota left the draft with the very best offensive defender accessible in Claire Thompson, who was chosen third general.

Thompson did not play final season whereas attending medical faculty, and would in any other case be a lock on the Canadian nationwide workforce. She set a brand new document for factors by a defender on the Olympics in 2022.

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 document in 2022 for many factors by a defender. She was drafted third general by Minnesota on the 2024 PWHL Draft. (John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports activities/Reuters)

She joins a blue line that is already received offensive defender Sophie Jaques and Lee Stecklein, who is without doubt one of the greatest shutdown defenders on this planet.

Minnesota added one other top-six ahead within the Crew USA’s Britta Curl on the draft, however attracted some controversy within the course of, because of anti-LGBTQ+ posts Curl has interacted with on social media.

Head coach Ken Klee ran the draft instead of GM Natalie Darwitz, who departed the workforce final week. Klee mentioned he did his homework on Curl, speaking to former coaches and teammates who endorsed her.

Requested whether or not he spoke to anybody from the LGBTQ neighborhood, together with gamers on his workforce, prior to creating the choose, Klee struggled to reply the query.

“On the finish of the day, I used to be instructed she’s an excellent teammate, an excellent individual and she or he’s clearly an excellent participant,” he mentioned.

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