After seven weeks of free agency, 31 players have signed with NWHL teams for the league’s fifth season.
The signings came quick and fast in the first three weeks, but in the four since, only 13 more have signed. Not a single player has disclosed their salary in that timeframe, leaving only six total players who have chose to do so. This is the first season since 2016-17 where salary information was made public.
Compared to last season, the signings are coming at a bit of a slower pace. At this point a year ago, there were 42 signings. Obviously the ForTheGame movement looms large over the signings and the season. However, a few big names who had tweeted their support signed — including original NWHL players Jillian Dempsey and Corinne Buie.
Let’s take a look at how the rosters look.
Forwards: 5 | Defenders: 5 | Goalies: 0 | Total: 10
Defender: Kaleigh Fratkin, Jenna Rheault, Lexi Bender, Mallory Souliotis, Lauren Kelly
Forward: Tori Sullivan, Christina Putigna, Lexie Laing, Mary Parker, Jillian Dempsey, McKenna Brand
Coach: Paul Mara
General Manager: n/a
The Pride have the most signees thus far with 10, though they have signed just two in the last month. While they don’t have a goaltender and last season’s three goalies all have taken the ForTheGame pledge, they do have an extremely strong, veteran blue line that should help support any young goaltender.
Dempsey will look to anchor the forwards again, along with McKenna Brand, who had an outstanding rookie season. Mary Parker has a chance to play a larger role as well.
Forwards: 2 | Defenders: 0 | Goalies: 1 | Total: 3
Forward: Corinne Buie, Brooke Stacey
Goaltender: Mariah Fujimagari
Coach: Pete Perram
General Manager: Mandy Cronin
Buffalo finally signed players as well as a coach. Having Buie back will boost them as so far their only other skater is Brooke Stacey, a rookie.
Fujimagari played with one season with the Worcester Blades last season, seeing more a high volume of shots. That experience should help her in this NWHL season.
Off the ice, the league is currently embroiled in the beginning stages of what looks like a trademark dispute over the Beauts name and logos. We’ll have to wait to see how this plays out and how it impacts the signings.
Forwards: 2 | Defenders: 4 | Goalies: 0 | Total: 6
Defender: Shannon Doyle, Taylor Marchin, Elena Orlando, Jordan Brickner
Forward: Kendra Broad, Jane Morrisette
General Manager: Bray Ketchum
The Whale signed two new players in the last month, a veteran and a rookie. General Manager Bray Ketchum looks to be pairing a strong veteran core with new faces.
They still don’t have a coach nor do they have a confirmed home rink. Last season was the first time they had played at the same rink for two seasons in a row after multiple seasons of changing rinks.
However, they do have the first official game on the schedule: a preseason tilt against UConn at UConn on Sept. 28 at 3 p.m. Admission is free.
Forwards: 2 | Defenders: 2 | Goalies: 0 | Total: 4
Defender: Colleen Murphy, Rebecca Morse
Forward: Madison Packer, Cailey Hutchison
General Manager: Kate Whitman-Annis
The Riveters added two veteran defenders to the fold. Murphy, who will be playing for her third different NWHL team, will continue to commute from North Carolina, while long time Riveter Rebecca Morse will be rejoining the team.
Based on Long Island University’s schedule, the Riveters are set to play a preseason game against the newest NCAA team on Sept. 28 as well.
Forwards: 4 | Defenders: 2 | Goalies: 1 | Total: 7
Defender: Amanda Boulier, Lisa Martinson
Forward: Allie Thunstrom, Jonna Curtis, Nicole Schammel, Brooke White-Lancette
Goaltender: Amanda Leveille
Coach: Ronda Englehart, Jack Brodt
General Manager: Jack Brodt
The NWHL said these are the last of the Whitecaps signings we’ll see for a bit. The team has a tryout camp the third week in July and are waiting until then to make more decisions. Hang tight, Whitecaps fans.