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2020 NWHL Draft Preview

A look at who could get drafted in the NWHL’s two-night draft

Michelle Jay

This was one of the best classes of women’s college hockey players ever, and that’s good news for the NWHL. Now with another team in the fold — and a Canadian team at that — that means even more players will have a home at the pro level.

It’s not as easy as the best players in the best spot; geography is always a factor, and then there’s other options such as the PWHPA, SDHL, or other overseas leagues. Those drafted will, from all indications, be likely to sign in the NWHL, but there’s no guarantees.

With all that factored in, here’s some prospects who could go on Tuesday and Wednesday, and where they might land.

Boston Pride

Picks: 6 (1*), 12, 18, 24, 30
*Sources indicate Boston will trade Toronto for the first pick.

Possible Targets: Sammy Davis, Meghara McManus, Taylor Wenczkowski, Paige Capistran, Tereza Vanišová

The Pride are already loaded with few roster spots to spare, but the first player they select should make an impact right away. All signs point to that being BU speedster Sammy Davis.

The Pride also have an affinity for UNH alum, which make McManus and Wenczkowski possibilities.

Local prospects Paige Capistrain and Delaney Belinskas of BC could be late-round steals.

NWHL Toronto

Picks: 1 (6*), 8, 15, 22, 29
*Sources indicate Boston will trade Toronto for the first pick.

Possible Targets: Tori Howran, Claire Thompson, Ella Shelton, Sabrina Repaci, Terra Lanteigne

Toronto jumps into the mix with a likely monopoly on all things Canadian. That includes defenders like Howran, Thompspn, and Bourbannais who could turn the unnamed squad into a defensive stalwart.

Of course, they could make some more moves across the board as they did for the top pick, and there’s more Canadian options than they have selections for now.

Minnesota Whitecaps

Picks: 5, 11, 17, 23, 28

Possible Targets: Abby Thiessen, Sydney Scobee, Alex Woken, Mekenzie Steffen

Like Toronto does in Canada, Minnesota runs the midwest, especially Minnesota prospects. That means the Whitecaps could become all the scarier with some of the best prospects in the game.

Imagine the Whitecaps lineup infused with some of the Minnesota based prospects like Mekenzie Steffen and Abby Thiessen, and Sydnee Scobee as a goalie-in-waiting.

Connecticut Whale

Picks: 2, 7, 13, 19, 25, 27
The Whale have an extra pick due to a trade in the 2018-2019 season.

Possible Targets: Abbie Ives, Maddie Bishop, Paige Lewis, Rachel Moore, Amanda Conway, Sophie McGovern

Sometimes the Whale get lost in the NWHL shuffle, but with the Pride roster almost locked in and plenty of New England options, the Whale could score this season.

Locals like Maddie Bishop and Paige Lewis should be locks, and Rachel Moore might be one of the most overlooked scorers in the draft out of Holy Cross.

Some solid Division 3 options like Amanda Conway and Sophie McGovern could make the Whale scoring dangerous if they go that route, since Boston will likely pass.

Metropolitan Riveters

Picks: 4, 10, 16, 21
The Riveters have one less pick due to a trade in the 2018-2019 season.

Possible Targets: Jaycee Gebhard, Michaela Pejzlová, Emma Nuutinen, Taylor Turnquist, Skylar Fontaine.

Michaela Pejzlová might be an interesting pick for a Riveters team that doesn’t really have a designated draft identity.

After that, the Rivs are kind of in limbo as far as territorial advantages. Emma Nuutinen of Finland could be a solid add.

Buffalo Beauts

Picks: 3, 9, 14, 20, 26

Possible Targets: Kayla Vespa, Kristin O’Neill, Whitney Dove, Kati Tabin, Brianna Buchanan, Bridgette Prentiss, Delaney Belinskas

The Beauts should get any Canadians who fall through the cracks from Toronto, such as Kristin O’Neill who should go early, and Kayla Vespa if she stays on the board.

Whitney Dove is another defender who could slip, while Bridgette Prentiss as a Buffalo native is a shoe-in. Brianna Buchanan at the Division 3 level out of Adrian feels like a perfect Buffalo pick as well.