2020 Top 25 Under 25 | No. 24, 25: Katie Burt, Jaycee Gebhard
We start our ranked spots with a newcomer.
Today, we kick off the ranked portion of our 2020 Top 25 Under 25 list! Former RMU and now Brynäs IF forward Jaycee Gebhard takes the 25th spot while PWHPA goaltender Katie Burt is in 24th.
No. 24 | Katie Burt
Burt falls to her lowest ranking on our list yet from a No. 15 spot last year. Considering her play over the past year, I think this drop was to be expected but is still shocking to those who witnessed her historic collegiate play. She is headed into her second season with the PWHPA currently.
Where do I begin? Burt took back to back Hockey East Goaltending Championships during her time at Boston College, broke the NCAA wins record, won three Beanpot tournaments, four Hockey East regular season titles, and honestly far too much more to write. She then went on to be the No. 1 overall NWHL draft pick for the Boston Pride in 2017, played one season with them where she posted a .920 save percentage over 16 games and was a 2019 NWHL All-Star. Tacking on two WJC medals to her list, and five PWHPA games under her belt, it’s safe to say she’s pretty good.
Burt is just on the cusp of being a permanent part of the Team USA roster; however, much like most of women’s hockey, there’s a lot of goalie talent and only so much roster space in that camp. She made her senior team debut during the 2019-20 Rivalry Series and did claim one win that made waves. If Burt can channel her inner-BC Eagle again, I think she can be an absolute star for the team as well as shine against the PWHPA heavy hitters she will face this upcoming season.
Is This Ranking Too High or Too Low?
Overall, I think it’s low. Burt has been one of my favorite players to watch for years and I don’t think she has ever received the full hype she deserves. However, this past year has seen a more lackluster Katie Burt than anyone wants to see (except maybe the Team Canada forwards). That being said, I think it’s high if you’re only considering her last year of play which included just one national team win with two tough losses and only a handful of PWHPA showcases.
No. 25 | Jaycee Gebhard
Gebhard is the greatest player in the history of the Robert Morris University women’s hockey program. In her senior year in 2019-20, she smashed her own previous records for points and assists in a single season. This offseason, Gebhard was the first draft pick (6th overall) in Toronto Six (NWHL) franchise history, but chose to sign with Brynäs IF in the SDHL.
Gebhard won a silver medal with Team Canada at the 2015 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship, where she finished tied for fourth on the team in scoring with one goal and three assists in five games. Following her solid performance in Buffalo, Gebhard began an epic collegiate career at Robert Morris University.
After scoring 22 goals and picking up 24 assists in 35 games as a rookie with the Colonials in 2016-17, Gebhard played three more seasons putting up at least 24 assists. After two years of finishing second in scoring to Brittany Howard, Gebhard gained the attention of the nation by proving she could flourish without Howard in her junior season in 2018-19. She broke out with 51 points in 36 games that year, finishing with 19 more points than the Colonials’ second-highest scorer (Lexi Templeman). In 2019-20 she scored 20 goals, notched 43 assists (20 of which were primary), and was the highest-scoring senior in the nation.
Gebhard finished her college career with 198 points in 139 games. Her name is splashed all over RMU’s record book. It’s hard to believe that she didn’t get the nod as a finalist for the Patty Kaz given just how important she was to the Colonials with her complete game and elite productivity.
Here’s a not-so-bold prediction for you: Gebhard is going to light it up in the SDHL.
Chances are, she’ll be asked to step into Michela Cava’s skates and spearhead Brynäs’ second line. Gebhard has all the tools necessary to be the next high-scoring North American forward in the SDHL regardless of who she plays with, but look out if she gets ice time with Lara Stalder or Denisa Krizova at even strength. If she stays healthy, anything less than 45 points (in a 36-game season) would be a disappointment.
If Gebhard shines in the SDHL like she’s capable of, she could end up on Hockey Canada’s radar. But, given the numbers that Kennedy Marchment and others have put up in Sweden, she’ll have to prove she’s a dominant and potentially peerless player to get an opportunity with Team Canada.
Is This Ranking Too High or Too Low?
This ranking is probably just right for Gebhard. It’s hard for North American players to crack this list if they aren’t a member of their respective national team. She’s an undersized center, which might be why she’s been overlooked in the past, but has proven herself a capable finisher as well as someone who has a gift for creating her own chances as well as scoring opportunities for others. Gebhard is a great skater and a tireless player off the puck, which just might be the key to her earning a spot as a bottom-six forward on Team Canada in the future.