When Daryl Watts debuted on last year’s Top 25 Under 25, she was ranked at a stunning No. 3, and it seemed like she was on track to be women’s hockey’s biggest star. It is not to say that she still can’t still achieve that — she is only 20 after all — but from last August until now, Watts has had some massive changes to her game and life.
The biggest one being that the former Boston College star announced she was transferring to Wisconsin, this year’s NCAA champion, for the last half of her college career.
Most notably, and the reason why she’s caused such a stir in the hockey scene these past few years is her incredible NCAA freshman season. Watts racked up 82 points and 40 goals, leading ALL players as a freshman. This led her to winning the Patty Kazmaier award as the only freshman, or even sophomore, to do so ever. She was also aptly given the Rookie of the Year award as well but that might have gone without saying.
Prior to that, Watts spent three years (and one game) in the PWHL with the Toronto Aeros and Mississauga Chiefs, whom she captained her second year there. She led the team in goals and points that year as well.
Despite having an almost 40 point drop from her freshman year to sophomore at BC, she still led the team in points and goals…Are you seeing a trend yet?
She also has two silver medals from representing Team Canada’s U18 team at the World Championships.
With a cross country move, and a new slate in the WCHA, Watts is likely trying to get back on the track she set for herself her freshman year and there isn’t a team better suited for that than the reigning champions.
So while Watts had the power to stop the hockey world for a minute with the breaking news of her transfer, she will be sure to set it back in motion again this winter as a great addition to Wisconsin’s offense that will include senior forward Abby Roque and Sophie Shirley who cracked our top 25 earlier in the list. Watts has potential to lead them all in points as she is known to do, but either way opponents should be scared to face those three on the same team.
I would be willing to bet that Watts will have a breakout role on the Canadian national team as we draw closer to another Olympic year too.
Watts has a lot to live up to after her unprecedented freshman year but with her determination and raw skill and ability to put up big numbers against seasoned players, the sky is really the limit for her. I would expect to see her add an NCAA title and a handful of medals representing Team Canada before her time to qualify for our list is up.
Is This Ranking Too High or Too Low?
If you consider that her third place ranking last year was likely a tad bit too high, this spot seems a lot more fitting for the Canadian star. I would still argue that it’s a bit too low when you consider the massive impact she can have on a team. Dropping her any lower than the top 10 would be a tragic understatement to her play.
In the future I would expect her to fluctuate in the top 10 unless we see a massive drop off in her game (which I don’t expect).
With arguably the biggest year of her college career ahead of her, Watts has a lot to prove but that pressure has never stopped her before. Daryl Watts is a force to be reckoned with and I believe that will only be amplified with her time as a Badger.