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Riveters acquire Kelly Babstock from Six in trade for two draft picks

The Rivs just got a lot scarier with this trade

Pat McCarthy

The Metropolitan Riveters made a big splash today by acquiring veteran forward Kelly Babstock from the Toronto Six in exchange for the team’ first round pick in 2021 and their second round pick in 2022. Babstock will join be joining the Riveters this week for training.

With this trade, the Riveters now have 22 players under contract for the upcoming season, 13 of which are forwards. That could mean that the Riveters are done adding to their offense, but a lot can change between now and game one of the season in January 2021.

This deal takes a big bite out of the Six’s offensive depth. Now that Toronto has moved Babstock’s contract, they are at 17 players — and 11 forwards — signed for 2020-21. Babstock initially signed with the Six on May 2, 2020 after being out of the league for a year. She was one of five Quinnipiac alums to sign with Toronto this offseason and was projected to be a leader on what is shaping up to be a young roster north of the border. One would expect Toronto to make a signing to help replace some of the firepower and/or fire they just lost. But, two picks in the first two rounds across the next two years is a good return here.

Babstock is a proven commodity as a top-line center who can beat opposing players with both skill and will. Through four seasons of NWHL action, she has averaged 0.92 Pts/GP and 0.71 P1/GP (primary points per-game). She’s also been dominant on the faceoff dot, with a career average of 57.9 percent. In 2019-20, the Riveters experimented with a few centers on the top line with Madison Packer and Kate Leary on the wings. On paper, a line of Packer-Babstock-Leary has the potential to be one of the best lines in women’s hockey this year. Make sure to have your popcorn ready for that trio if it emerges as the top line out of training camp.

As a result of this trade, the Riveters and the Pride are the only two teams in the NWHL with two active players on their respective roster who are Top-5 in all-time scoring. Babstock enters the season in fourth place, a single point behind Team USA’s Brianna Decker, with 60 points in 65 games. It’s worth noting that three of those points are shorthanded goals and that Babstock is tied for third among active players in power play points (15) with Taylor Accursi and Corinne Buie.

This trade also made a bit of history. The Riveters are technically Babstock’s fourth NWHL team, although she never dressed for the Six in the regular season. She’s now the only player in league history to be under contract with four different NWHL clubs. She began her career in Connecticut, where she was a two-time All-Star, and played for the Beauts in 2018-19 before signing with the Six.