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Women’s Hockey Top 25 Under 25 | Number 2 - Ann-Renée Desbiens

Wisconsin superstar looks ahead to PyeongChang with Team Canada.

Ann-Renee Desbiens of Wisconsin University playing the puck out of her glove.
Davis Stluka

Ann-Renée Desbiens is still a recent college grad, but she's easily one of the top goaltenders for Canada (and the world) at the young age of 23.

Past accomplishments

Desbiens has broken just about every single record at Wisconsin and most in the NCAA, too. She set the NCAA record for most career shutouts (44) in either men’s or women's hockey on Nov. 6, 2016, that was previously held by Noora Räty (maybe you've heard of her; she's kind of a big deal in Finland). Her sophomore year (her sophomore year!) she tied Jessie Vetter's record for shutouts in a single season with 14 before shattering it the next season with 21 shutouts, which also broke the NCAA single-season shutout record.

Not content with THOSE records, she broke a few more — she also holds the NCAA record for consecutive shutout minutes (543:53), the NCAA single-season save percentage record (.960), and the NCAA single-season goals against average record (.076).

In her most recent season, she was first in the nation in wins (29), shutouts (17), goals against average (0.71), and save percentage (.963), and she backstopped Wisconsin all the way to the NCAA championship final for the first time in her career, where the Badgers ultimately fell to the Clarkson Golden Knights.

She was also the WCHA and USCHO Player of the Year in 2016, where she was also named a Patty Kazmaier top-three finalist. She was nominated for the Patty Kaz again her senior season and won the award.

And honestly, that's just scratching the surface, but we'll leave it at that for her college career.

Desbiens has also been a member of Team Canada, playing for the U-18 team at the 2011 World Championships and winning silver before playing for the U-22 squad for a bit in 2012. She was named to the World Championship roster in 2015 but was left off the roster in 2016 and 2017.

Luckily for Canada, they named her to this year's centralization roster along with Shannon Szabados and Genevieve Lacasse.

Though she just graduated, she also had a brief stint in the CWHL with Les Canadiennes, then the Montreal Stars, in 2011-12 when the team won the Clarkson Cup.

Future impact

Desbiens will probably not be the starter for PyeongChang with Szabados still around, but the experience she gains in centralization will be huge for her as she reaches a crossroads at her career.

Where she goes from there is anyone's guess. Besides her stint at Worlds in 2015, her relationship with Hockey Canada has been a bit rocky, in part because of injuries and in part because of factors like age and other netminders in the system. How she performs at centralization could indicate where she fits into their future plans (and she should, very much, be a part of them).

As far as her pro career goes, Desbiens was drafted by the Boston Pride in the NWHL during their junior draft; but considering that she's already spent time in the CWHL, it seems likely that if she were to play professionally, she'd go there.

Is this ranking too high or too low?

This feels like a perfect ranking for Desbiens. She, along with Maschmeyer, has the potential to be the future of Team Canada as its netminder, and she is hands-down one of the brightest rising stars in women's hockey.

She probably won't start in PyeongChang — that's still Shannon Szabados' territory — but should she have a good season, she could very well take over the number one spot. One thing is sure, she should certainly stay in Top 5 territory, and very likely will remain in the Top 3.