Today, the NWHL announced seven players were added to the Buffalo roster for the upcoming season. The Kelsey Neumann and Jordan Ott signings (which were previously announced via social media) were made official. So too were five re-signings - Jordyn Burns, Sarah Casorso, Kayla Parsons, Hayley Scamurra and goaltender Amanda Leveille all agreed to terms with the team.
“These returning players will help guide our team with their leadership, experience and talent,” c-coach and general manager Ric Seiling shared. “We are glad to have them return to the Blue and Black.”
McLevman returns, almost
With the re-signing of Leveille, the Beauts bring back a netminder who had a .893 save percentage in the regular season and who had an amazing 34-save performance against the New York Riveters in the playoffs. Leveille’s victory sent the Beauts to the Isobel Cup Final where Brianne McLaughlin stole the show.
Additionally, Leveille was one-third of the #McLevman social media sensation. The goalie trio entertained the league with public hijinks while wearing their goalie gear. Neumann kept the tradition alive in the offseason, re-signing her contract in full gear (and with a hockey stick pen).
McLaughlin retired after her amazing performance that led to the Beauts Isobel Cup victory, which left the trio one goalie short. The Beauts still have one practice goalie spot left to fill.
Scamurra returns for first full season
Scamurra was added to the Beauts roster late last season. The 10th overall draft pick played three total games in her rookie season. She earned 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) en route to her first professional title. She is the second 2016 Draft Pick to commit to the league for the 2017-18 season.
Prior to joining the Beauts, Scamurra helped Northeastern to the Hockey East semifinals. She earned the 2017 Defensive Forward Award for Hockey East, and finished her career with the Huskies with 111 points (39 goals, 72 assists).
Last season Parsons played 10 games on the blue line for the Beauts. She was one of the team’s practice squad players, but was frequently in the lineup because of the unavailability of other players.
Parsons agreeing to terms with the Beauts is a step in the right direction for Buffalo. The Beauts have a lot of holes to fill on the blue line. Bringing back Parsons’ experience and sound defensive play goes a long way towards improving Buffalo’s blue line.
Burns and Casorso Back in Buffalo
Burns and Casorso could likely be playing larger roles next season in Buffalo. They’re both reliable two-way forwards, but in the NWHL’s press release they were categorized as defenders. Casorso displayed more offensive upside in her rookie season than Burns did, but both are capable of making an impact in the offensive zone.
Casorso finished the 2016-17 season with seven assists and 20 shots in 16 games. Burns picked up two assists in 15 games playing a depth role for the Beauts.
The duo’s experience with the Beauts Isobel Cup-winning team will be invaluable to a 2017-18 roster that is sure to feature plenty of rookies, including DIII player Jordan Ott out of SUNY-Potsdam.
Retirements, free agents and Team USA centralization
The Beauts now have a total of eight players signed for next season. The defending champions still have work to do, especially with multiple losses to the roster due to retirement and Team USA centralization ahead of the 2018 Olympics.
In addition to McLaughlin, Devon Skeats, Harrison Browne and Anne Schleper also officially retired from professional ice hockey. Schleper signed with the Beauts last July. However, the former Olympian only played six games with the team. Browne and Skeats announced their retirement after spending the first two seasons with Buffalo.
Additionally, the Beauts will likely miss Megan Bozek and Emily Pfalzer for the entire third season. Both defenders were named to the 23-player USA Hockey roster ahead of the Olympics. Team USA is currently in Tampa to train for the upcoming games, and will narrow the roster once more before PyeongChang in the winter.
The Beauts might also be without alternate captain Darkangelo and rookie Janiga. Both are listed as prospects for the upcoming 2017 CWHL Draft. The free agent from Connecticut was a huge addition to the Beauts offense last season. Darkangelo was tied for first in points (12) with Corinne Buie. Janiga will also be missed on the Beauts attack. She tallied 11 points in 17 appearances.