2020 Top 25 Under 25 | Honorable Mentions 1: Sarah Potomak, Kennedy Marchment
Two of our five honorable mentions kick off the 2020 Top 25 Under 25.
When looking at the entirety of women’s hockey, 25 players under 25 just isn’t enough. But 25 players fit the name well, so we always expand the list out by another five players. They become our honorable mentions.
Today, we present two of the five. Unlike the rest of the list, these five are not in the order they placed by votes.
2020 Top 25 Under 25 | The List
Honorable Mention | Kennedy Marchment
It’s hard for post-collegiate North American players who aren’t on their respective national teams to crack The Ice Garden’s T25U25, even if they are piling up points in a league as competitive as the SDHL.
Two years into her pro career in Sweden, Kennedy Marchment’s stock is skyrocketing.
The Canadian forward finished second in the SDHL in scoring in 2019-20 with 64 points (32 goals, 32 assists) in 36 games. The most impressive stat line from her most recent season is that 38 of her 64 points were primary points recorded at even strength. She also led HV71, the SDHL’s top team at the conclusion of the regular season, in scoring. Marchment made a statement with her play this year after leading Linköping in scoring as an SDHL rookie with 52 points in 36 games in 2018-19.
Prior to beginning her pro career in Sweden, Marchment had an outstanding collegiate career at St. Lawrence University. She is fifth all-time in program history in scoring, fourth in assists, and fourth in game-winning goals. The Ontario native was a Top-10 Finalist for the Patty Kaz in her junior year in 2016-17. In that same season she was also named First-Team All-ECAC and was a finalist for the ECAC Hockey Best Forward award. She finished her junior year with 56 points in 36 games, which was good for fourth (tied) in the nation in scoring with Lara Stalder.
Marchment signed a one-year extension to stay with HV71 on Mar. 27, 2020, so we can all look forward to at least one more year of her lighting up the SDHL. She’s already proven she can carry the workload of a top line center on the best team in one of the top leagues in the world and create scoring chances at an elite level. So, what’s left for Marchment, who turns 24 in December, to prove in Sweden other than wrestling the scoring title away from Stalder and winning a championship?
If she manages to build on her production and take her game to a new level for a second consecutive season in the SDHL, one must imagine that Hockey Canada will come calling. Marchment has yet to represent Canada in her hockey career but was invited to Canada’s selection and condition camps for the 2014 U18 Women’s World Championships.
Is This Ranking Too High or Too Low?
One of the biggest knots left to untie in women’s hockey analysis (stats-driven or otherwise) is comparing the level of competition between leagues. Which pro league has the most talent, the best teams, and the highest level of play? Many would say the SDHL currently sits atop that list. So, shouldn’t Marchment be ranked higher based on her production and achievements in the SDHL?
The bottom line is that Marchment’s absence from Team Canada is the reason why she didn’t crack the Top 25. While we are working to rank the best post-collegiate leagues in the world, we already know what the highest level of the game looks like: the IIHF World Championships and the Olympics. Until Marchment plays her way onto Team Canada – which is unlikely but not impossible at this stage (see Ann-Sophie Bettez) – she will be overlooked by media members in North America.
Honorable Mention | Sarah Potomak
Sarah Potomak makes her fourth appearance on our Top 25 Under 25 list, but, like last year, is an honorable mention. The elder of the Potomak sisters finished her college career at Minnesota this year and will join the PWHPA while also coaching at Trinity Western University.
The Canadian forward’s numbers rebounded for her senior season, posting a team high of 46 points. Her 19 goals were good for second on the team, while her 27 assists led the Gophers. Those were both huge improvements over her junior year numbers, a season in which she missed six games due to injury.
She finished her time at Minnesota with a 1.23 points per game average. Her 179 points puts her 11th on the school’s all-time list. Perhaps more incredible is that she only had 16 penalty minutes total across all four years.
In terms of Team Canada, it’s been a bit of a rocky time for her. Potomak had strong showings at the U18 level, winning a gold and a silver at Worlds before college. Her senior team experience has been limited to the 2017 World Championships, where she scored two goals. She was a late cut for the 2018 Olympics roster and then her junior year injury kept her out of the 2018 Four Nations Cup.
Potomak hasn’t seen any National Team time since missing the Four Nations Cup. She was invited to the 2019-20 Fall Festival ahead of the cancelled 2020 World Championships, but wasn’t named to that team. She also wasn’t named to the Pittsburgh squad for the make-up Four Nations tournaments nor to either of the Rivalry Series rosters as Team Canada leaned on veterans and younger rookies during the messy national team season.
She has the skills and the makings to be on the senior team, though, especially if we start to see a bit of the changing of the guard on Team Canada.
Is This Ranking Too High or Too Low?
Mike Murphy wrote last year that Potomak’s position on this list says more about the overall talent in women’s hockey rather than her own play. I’d agree with that sentiment again this year. She’s tough to place given her lack of experience in the last season with Team Canada and their reluctance to roster her again.