After quite the memorable year for Clarkson in the NCAA,the ever-dynamic Giguère slots in at No. 2 on our rankings.
Giguère has racked up a plethora of awards so far in her career, but none bigger or more deserving than the hardware she collected in 2019-20. After scoring 37 goals, 29 assists, and 66 points in just 37 games, she was named the winner of the 2020 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award.
Along with leading the country in goals, she also led with 245 shots on goal and 6.62 shots on goal per game, and finished tied for first with 10 game-winning goals. Her performance in 2019-20 was especially remarkable considering the injuries Clarkson dealt with all season long, as well as the graduation of Giguère’s former linemate and 2019 Patty Kazmaier winner Loren Gabel.
For the second-straight season, she was named a First Team All-American. She also took home nearly every conference honor possible, winning the ECAC’s Best Forward Award, Player of the Year Award, and landing on the all-league First Team. She hit the 200-point mark for her career in mid-February—and still has another season of college hockey left to play.
Giguère has long been regarded as one of the most skilled and productive players in women’s hockey, taking practically no time at all to become acclimated to NCAA Division I hockey and building on her own performances year after year. This season, though, she elevated her game to a completely different level.
For the first two years of her career at Clarkson, Giguère played alongside Gabel, one of the very best shooters we’ve seen at this level. While Giguère excelled all on her own on that line, it definitely helped having a 40-goal-scorer to dish off to on the opposite wing. This year, Clarkson lost that goal-scoring presence from Gabel, but that hardly seemed to slow down Giguère at all.
Instead, she seemed to evolve her game almost on a whim, going from a skillful playmaker who is a constant passing threat to an extremely dangerous—and willing—shooter herself. She’s always been a good goal-scorer, but this season she stepped it up a notch, leading the entire country and scoring at a goal-per-game rate. She took a higher volume of shots overall, too, going from 4.22 per game as a sophomore to 6.62 as a junior, showing she’s comfortable as the trigger for the Clarkson offense.
Here’s a look at Giguère’s hat trick from a game against Harvard this year, part of a four-goal effort in total, to give an idea of how well-rounded a scorer she is herself:
She continued her elite play as an offensive linchpin in nearly every other aspect besides scoring, too. Giguère is maybe the best player on this entire list at slowing things down to beat opponents, but she can push the pace, too, making her especially dangerous off the rush. When she has the puck, pretty much all eyes are on her, but she’s usually able to maintain possession, burst through traffic and find openings for herself or her teammates to score.
It’s rare to see someone so succinctly add a completely different dimension to their game; to me, that’s the hallmark of a truly great player. Giguère’s ability to add to her arsenal when called upon while continuing to dominate as a playmaker tells me that she has what it takes to be an extremely impactful player for Team Canada down the line.
Is This Ranking Too High or Too Low?
This ranking feels just right to me. She is a near-generational talent who brings a very unique blend of size, speed, and skill—and when I say unique, I mean that she’s elite in all three areas; I’m not sure if there’s another player in this age bracket who has those same raw tools, or who uses them so effectively. She’s very close to the best player under 25; a No. 2 ranking is deserved.