No. 11 | Aerin Frankel
Frankel debuts on our list here with a pretty high ranking for a 21-year-old with very little international team experience. What got her here though, is her absolutely incredible run as the starting goalie for the Northeastern Huskies for the past two years.
Headed into her senior season at Northeastern, Frankel has already made quite a name for herself. She debuted for Team USA in the 2019-20 Rivalry Series and took home a win with a .964 save percentage.
Aside from that, she’s been nominated for a Patty Kaz award, is the reigning Hockey East Goaltender of the Year dating back to 2018, broke the program record for goals against average, save percentage, shutouts, and wins during the 2019-20 season, and holds one of my favorite fun facts of being the first and only goalie to post three shutouts against Boston College in one season. She also was awarded the Bertagna Award for the Beanpot’s best goaltender for having 57 saves in the tournament this year.
We should definitely expect a big year out of Aerin Frankel. With a senior, alternate captain confidence knowing she will come into the season after a historic one, I think she will be an unstoppable force. If the New York native can keep that up, she will be carving herself a spot on the national team roster ahead of some other tough competition too. I truly believe in three years, her name will be one of the top names in global women’s hockey.
Is This Ranking Too High or Too Low?
I think it’s far too low, and I say this knowing the top ten is full of so much talent who also deserve to be there. Frankel is coming off of a season where she debuted for the US National Team and played perfectly, led the country with her NCAA .958 save percentage, and broke all kinds of records.
While I think she has a long, successful career ahead of her, I don’t know how she will top this year to break into our top ten next year. Like I always point out, there is far too much goalie talent in the USA pipeline to be fair but Frankel is the one to beat right now. The future of Team USA is hers for the taking.
No. 12 | Anna Shokhina
Shokhina makes an appearance in the T25U25 rankings for the third year in a row, moving up a few spots from #18 last year to just outside the top 10 this time around.
After winning the ZhHL scoring title in 2018-19 with a whopping 76 points in 33 games, Shokhina ranked fifth in the league in scoring in 2019-20, notching 17 goals, 21 assists, and 38 points in 28 games. She’s captained Tornado Moscow since she was 18 years old, has won the league scoring title three times, and earned her fourth All-Star nod this past season. Despite being just 23, she’s already very established on the international level, competing in the Winter Olympics in 2014 and 2018 and helping Russia win 3 Winter Universiade gold medals.
Shokhina is clearly already a supremely impactful player both for her club team and at the senior international level. While her production did drop off this past season with Tornado, it’s probably safe to say that’s partly due to some significant departures and a reduction in firepower on the squad as a whole.
She still scored enough to rank fifth overall in the ZhHL in scoring. Production aside, Shokhina is clearly one of the most talented players on the planet. Her skillset is, to me, easily top-five in the world. She is not as consistently dominant as other players, but she’s still in that very top tier as far as her game-breaking abilities. She can score herself, and she’s also more than capable of protecting the puck, drawing defenders in, and finding open teammates for tap-ins. Her vision, possession skills, and raw scoring abilities are all next-level.
Shokhina also brings some level of grit to her game as well; she tends to be strong on the puck and in tight areas, and that makes her a pretty sound player in all facets of the game, not just offensively.
Is This Ranking Too High or Too Low?
When you look at the total package of Shokhina’s abilities and what she’s accomplished so far in her career, this ranking is too low for my liking. To me, she’s a clear top-5 entry on this list, and arguably in the entire world as well just based purely on her skillset and contributions so far.