Giguère rocketed up The Ice Garden’s Top 25 Under 25 rankings, earning a top-10 spot this year after being named as an honorable mention last year. It’s no surprise to see her so high so quickly, though, as she’s spent the past two seasons tearing up the NCAA women’s hockey scene.
Giguère is entering her junior year at Clarkson, but she’s already well-acquainted with the NCAA scoring leaders list. As a freshman, she put up a whopping 71 points (27 goals and 44 assists) to finish fourth in national scoring and become the highest-scoring rookie in Golden Knights history. Her play-making skills in particular stood out, with her 44 assists ranking her second nationally. She was named the ECAC’s Rookie of the Year, more than doubling the point total of the next highest-scoring freshman in the conference, and also earned a spot on the All-ECAC First Team.
In the playoffs, she scored the biggest and best goal of Clarkson’s season, on a breakaway in overtime to win the national championship:
Elizabeth Giguere scores in OT to give Clarkson its second straight NCAA title. pic.twitter.com/bj4n5nRxGe— Offseason Mode Blinn (@NHLBlinn) March 18, 2018
For her efforts, she was named to the 2018 Frozen Four All-Tournament Team and an AHCA/CCM Second Team All-American.
Giguère followed that all up with an even better sophomore season. She tallied 73 points (26 goals, 47 assists) to lead the country in points and assists, and continued to rack up ECAC and national accolades. She was named a First Team All-American, the USCHO D-I Women’s Player of the Year, and a Top-10 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Finalist. Giguère also snapped the program record for shorthanded goals in a single season with five, proving once again to be a dynamic player in all situations for the Golden Knights.
With two years of collegiate play in the books, Giguère has shown time and time again that she’s an elite, game-breaking player. What’s become even more impressive about her as her career has gone on is how consistently she can make those game-breaking plays in every outing. Her ability to drum up high-danger scoring chances means that she very often creates multiple goals for Clarkson throughout the span of a game–and sometimes even the span of one shift.
In terms of physical tools, Giguère has a unique blend of size and speed that makes it very tough for defenders to match up with her, and that’s a trait that will translate directly to the next level. As good as she can be in one-on-one situations, though, she also has the vision and hockey sense needed to make plays for her teammates. Very often, she’ll use her individual skills to possess the puck and hold off defenders, before finding a teammate with space on the other side of the ice.
And if Giguère is dangerous in all situations, she is absolutely lethal in transition. Her line was nearly unstoppable this season on the rush, especially in 2-on-1 or 3-on-2 situations. What makes her so good there is her patience, and how well she can control the pace of the play and adjust as needed.
Sometimes her goal-scoring abilities can go a little unheralded because her play-making is so next-level, but Giguère excels at that, too, and she’s very good at scoring playoff overtime winners.
Very, very good at it.
All of this is to say that she possesses all the tools needed to anchor a team’s top line. As nice as it’s undoubtedly been for her to play with Loren Gabel and Michaela Pejzlová, Giguère is the engine behind Clarkson’s monster offense. At 22, she’s got plenty of time left to break in with Hockey Canada at the senior level and should make a difference there once she does.
Is this ranking too high or too low?
Giguère absolutely belongs inside the top 10 of these rankings, but to me, she is an easy top-3 pick and an even easier top-5. She’s been a part of one of the most prolific lines in college hockey history, and it’s fair to say she’s benefited from playing with an excellent center and a lethal goal scorer. But her impact whenever she’s on the ice speaks for itself.