Now that the 2020 Isobel Cup Final has been canceled, we can officially call this the NWHL offseason. Since our last roster recap on May 10, all six of the NWHL’s teams have made big additions to their lineups.
All new signings are in bold. Any player new to the NWHL will be marked with an asterisk. 2020 Draft picks who sign are marked with two asterisks.
Defenders: 4 | Forwards: 6 | Goalies: 1 | Total: 11
Defender: Kaleigh Fratkin, Lauren Kelly, Jenna Rheault, Mallory Souliotis
Forward: Christina Putigna, Lexie Laing, McKenna Brand, Sammy Davis**, Jillian Dempsey, Tereza Vanišová**
Goaltender: Lovisa Selander
Head Coach: Paul Mara
General Manager: Karilyn Pilch
The best offense in the league just keeps getting scarier. The Pride have signed Maine standout Tereza Vanišová, who was the 12th pick in the 2020 NWHL Draft.
Vanišová is 24 and has an abundance of experience in major international tournaments, which means she should be productive right off the bat for the Pride regardless of who she plays with. She scored at least 14 goals in all four of year seasons with the Black Bears and was the fifth-highest scoring European player in the nation in 2019-20 after putting up 31 points in 33 games.
As big as the addition of Vanišová is, it pales in comparison to the return of All-Star goaltender Lovisa Selander. Name a single-season NWHL goaltending record and you’ll find her name next to it. She and Amanda Leveille were in a class of their own last year. With Selander back in Boston, the Pride are well on their way to repeating as regular season champions.
Defenders: 3 | Forwards: 2 | Goalies: 1 | Total: 6
Defender: Lisa Chesson, Marie-Jo Pelletier, Dominique Kremer*
Forward: Taylor Accursi, Cassidy MacPherson
Goaltender: Carly Jackson**
General Manager: Nathaniel Oliver
The Beauts have a new general manager in Nathaniel Oliver and a new offensive defender in Dominique Kremer.
Kremer, who the Whale drafted in 2018 with the 17th overall pick, had an outstanding senior season at Merrimack in 2017-18. She scored seven goals and notched 14 assists and proved herself to be a high-volume shooter, putting 92 shots on net in 36 games. Last year, she picked up 16 points in 36 games in the SDHL with Djurgården and was the team’s highest-scoring defender.
Together, Kremer, Chesson, and MJP represent a very promising start to Buffalo’s new-look blue line.
Oliver also re-signed center Cassidy MacPherson, who was arguably the second-best rookie on Buffalo last year, behind only MJP. She proved herself to be an exceptional two-way center and could be more productive if Oliver can find some finishers to put around her.
Defenders: 5 | Forwards: 4 | Goalies: 2 | Total: 11
Defender: Shannon Doyle, Elena Orlando, Tori Howran**, Taylor Marchin, Maggie LaGue
Forward: Emma Vlasic, Kaycie Anderson, Hanna Beattie, Katelynn Russ
Goaltender: Brooke Wolejko, Abbie Ives*
General Manager: Bray Ketchum
The Whale are making moves.
General manager Bray Ketchum is back for a second year at the helm and has begun her offseason with a few exclamation marks.
For the first time in a long time, the Whale have seemingly retained all of their most vital players from the previous season. Since our last update, the Whale re-signed veteran pros Taylor Marchin and Hanna Beattie. Ketchum also brought back Katelynn Russ and signed rookies Abbie Ives and Maggie LaGue, who the Whale drafted in 2018.
Russ had Whale fans buzzing in the 2020 Isobel Cup Playoffs with two goals and an assist in two games. She led Union in goal-scoring for three years, including a 16-goal sophomore campaign in 2017-18. LaGue represents the puck-moving defender that the Whale have been missing since Kaleigh Fratkin left the team. She’s a proven quarterback on the power play and finished all four of her seasons at RMU with at least 22 points.
Whale fans should be excited about the depth in Connecticut’s goal crease with Wolejko and Ives both inked for 2020-21. Ives was named Quinnipiac’s MVP after the 2019-20 season and backstopped the Bobcats to 17 wins with a .927 save percentage. She finished her collegiate career with a .926 save percentage.
Defenders: 4 | Forwards: 4 | Goalies: 1 | Total: 9
Defender: Rebecca Morse, Leila Kilduff, Saroya Tinker**, Sammy Kolowrat*
Forward: Kendall Cornine, Madison Packer, Mallory Rushton, Cailey Hutchison
Goaltender: Tera Hofmann**
Head Coach: Ivo Mocek
General Manager: Kate Whitman-Annis
The Riveters signed Tera Hofmann, the 16th overall pick of the 2020 NWHL Draft, since the last time we checked in with them. Fans are anxiously awaiting news on whether or not Sam Walther will return to the team, but in either case Hofmann could be the team’s new starter.
Hofmann finished her career with the Yale Bulldogs with a .914 save percentage and a record of 22-39-9. That’s a rock solid save percentage while facing an average of 30.69 SA60 on a losing team. When she makes her debut, she will be the first Canadian-born goalie to play for the Riveters.
On May 21, the Rivs signed Czech defender and University of Vermont alumna Sammy Kolowrat. Kolowrat brings an abundance of international experience to Ivo Mocek’s blue line. She earned 11 points in 36 games during her senior season at Vermont in 2018-19.
Defenders: 1 | Forwards: 2 | Goalies: 0 | Total: 3
Defender: Amanda Boulier
Forward: Allie Thunstrom, Jonna Curtis
General Manager: Jack Brodt
Last time we checked in with the Whitecaps, we were pretty close to poking them with a stick and asking them to do something. It looks like they got the message.
Minnesota re-signed All-Stars and core players Amanda Boulier and Jonna Curtis. There were many who thought that Boulier deserved the nod as the NWHL’s Defender of the Year in 2019-20, including myself and Curtis’ production in her first two years in the league speaks for itself. The club also announced that Jack Brodt is officially back as the team’s general manager.
The next “must re-sign” player for the Whitecaps is goaltender Amanda Leveille, but look for Brodt to take his time rebuilding a roster that played its way to the Isobel Cup Final for two consecutive years. Minnesota was the oldest team in the league last season and there are a few aging stars, including captain Winny Brodt Brown, who might be contemplating hanging up their skates.
Defenders: 2 | Forwards: 9 | Goalies: 2 | Total: 13
Defender: Emma Greco, Kristen Barbara*
Forward: Taylor Woods*, Shiann Darkangelo, Kelly Babstock, Sarah-Ève Coutu-Godbout*, Brooke Boquist*, Mikyla Grant-Mentis, Amy Curlew**, Jenna McParland*, Natalie Marcuzzi**
Goaltender: Elaine Chuli*, Samantha Ridgewell*
General Manager: Mandy Cronin
Since our last update, Toronto lost out on signing its first-ever first round pick in Jaycee Gebhard. However, Mandy Cronin’s team signed two other picks from the 2020 Draft — Amy Curlew and Natalie Marcuzzi, signed three more established forwards, and landed another goalie with the chops to be a starter.
Sam Ridgewell, who played in the SDHL last year with Djurgården, joins Elaine Chuli in Toronto’s goal crease. The 5-foot-11 netminder was a standout for four years at Merrimack and could very well earn more starts than Chuli.
Veteran forwards Brooke Boquist and longtime CWHLer Jenna McParland also signed. Boquist is a natural center who has produced in NCAA DI and in the SDHL. McParland is a Clarkson Cup champion who played with the PWHPA last year. She was a consistent scorer during her time with the Brampton/Markham Thunder, closing out her CWHL career with 10 goals in 24 games in the 2018-19 season. She’ll be an impact player for Toronto.
Perhaps the biggest addition for Toronto since last we checked in is Mikyla Grant-Mentis. Mentis played two regular season games and one playoff game for the Buffalo Beauts last season after completing an exceptional collegiate career at Merrimack. She is oozing with first-line potential and could flourish playing with proven stars like Darkangelo and Babstock.