When the NWHL expanded to add the Minnesota Whitecaps, we at The Ice Garden got to wondering, what would an NWHL Expansion Draft look like?
So we held a mock draft of sorts.
Yesterday, we posted our Protected Players lists as well as a recap of how we went about the mock draft.
Today we’re sharing our Whitecaps rosters.
We’d love to see your Whitecaps teams too! Share your team in a FanPost, in the comments, or on social media.
Mike Murphy’s Whitecaps
Haley Skarupa: If there’s a chance that Haley Skarupa is returning to the NWHL this year, I want her and her Olympic gold medal on my team.
Kourtney Kunichika: To compliment the trigger-happy Skarupa, I selected the perpetually underrated playmaker Kourtney Kunichika.
Miye D’Oench: I picked Miye D’Oench because she has first line skill and the work ethic of a third line energy player. D’Oench could create space for her teammates if hockey was played in a phone booth.
Kelsey Koelzer and Jenny Ryan: If Kelsey Koelzer and Jenny Ryan are good enough to be on Team USA’s radar, they’re good enough for me. I’ll worry about them both being right-handed when I’m done watching highlights of my team’s zone exits and creative power play. Koelzer and Ryan are both young and full of potential — great defenders to build a blue line around.
Brianna Laing: Brianna Laing is the only goalie available in our mock expansion draft with significant NWHL experience. She put up solid numbers with the Boston Pride last season and had great stats with Harvard.
Angelica Rodriguez’s Whitecaps
Haley Skarupa: A prolific scorer at all levels of her career, Skarupa has tons of speed and the potential to take control of an offensive line. She was listed as one of TIG’s Top 25 Under 25 last season.
Janine Weber: Weber didn’t have as strong a season as usual in Boston last year, but she still has offensive presence and has proven in the past that she is a clutch player. If she can stay healthy this season, we can expect her to hit big on special teams in particular.
Kourtney Kunichika: The longtime Buffalo Beaut was one of the top playmaking centers for her first two seasons in the league and has scored 46 points — 29 of them assists — over three years total. She simply makes her linemates better, playing more of a defensive role while also generating plenty of scoring chances.
Kelsey Koelzer: Koelzer’s strength on both sides of the puck and booming slap shot can boost any blue line, and I’m sure the Whitecaps would be grateful to have her on the roster. She tallied nearly a point per game in 15 games played last season and completely lit up last season’s All-Star Game in St. Paul, giving soon-to-be Whitecaps fans a good look at her talents.
Kaleigh Fratkin: Having played for three teams in the past three seasons, Fratkin could potentially continue her journeyman ways by joining the Whitecaps. This versatile blueliner has plenty of physicality, as well as prowess on the power play. She can also play on a forward line if needed.
Kimberly Sass: This is a bit of a tricky pick, since many of the goaltending situations in the NWHL involve a clear #1 goalie shouldering 99 percent of the workload throughout the season. Still, from what I’ve seen of Sass, she’s a decent backup who can fill out a netminding corps well, posting an .878 save percentage in two games played.
Erik Wollschlager’s Whitecaps
Haley Skarupa: She is an international star and it is a wonder she was not protected for the draft.
Jess Jones: She is a marvel on the ice. Easily identified by her trademarked sleeves-tucked-into-elbow-pads look, she’s either scoring or physically tearing up the other team.
Miye D’Oench: What can be said about the value of a player that is a key component to the league’s longest winning streak this season? And once she’s injured in an exhibition, the wheels come off a bit?
Lisa Chesson: A defender with solid offensive capabilities is a necessity. Lisa Chesson is a dependable blueliner with great playmaking ability, and can also quarterback a good power play unit.
Paige Harrington: One of the league’s premiere defensive defenders.
Brianna Laing: Her time has been limited, but she’s proven she can stand barrages and stay sharp when the action turns to the other end of the ice.
The Hockey Writers’ Dan Rice’s Whitecaps
Dan Rice, friend of the The Ice Garden, graciously agreed to draft his own Whitecaps team. You can find Dan’s NWHL (and NHL) work at The Hockey Writers.
Miye D’Oench: Primetime players make primetime plays in primetime games and D’Oench embodies that principle. The bigger the game, the better she plays; often overlooked, but don’t ever underestimate her talent level.
Sam Donovan: Gotta take a hometown kid if we’re starting a team in Minnesota and Donovan adds speed and youth to our new team.
Janine Weber: She seems like she can play any style and with her unlimited skill set. Weber is a perfect fit on our top line and top PP unit.
Shelly Picard: Always the first one to the rink, last one to leave; no one better to start a franchise with than Picard - who is the ultimate team player. Give her the C now.
Rachael Ade: At 5’9” (without skates on), Ade adds length and size to battle against the taller opponents who will attempt to set up shop in front of the crease; the sky’s the limit for this up-and-coming defender.
Madison Litchfield: With only one pro game under her belt, we’re gonna ride or die with Litchfield (who was a part of the winningest class at the University of Vermont) and her glorious goalie gear.