2021 NWHL Draft Recap: Boston Pride

Boston adds a depth center and a big, bruising winger in the draft

The 2021 Isobel Cup Champions only made two selections in the 2021 draft. The Boston Pride nabbed two forwards from Massachusetts — who could have seen that coming —  with their fourth and fifth-round picks. In light of the recent news that Lexie Laing, Carlee Turner, and Tereza Vanišová will not be back with the team next year we should expect the Pride to sign one if not both of their picks.

There’s a good chance that Boston will want to bring in a veteran free agent to round out their group of forwards but that isn’t what this article is about. So, without any further adieu, let’s get to know Boston’s 2021 Draft Class.

Finley Frechette (F) | 21st overall from Cornell University

Frechette is a gifted athlete who also played lacrosse for Cornell. She finished her collegiate hockey career with 12 points in 101 games after scoring a career-best five goals in her junior season in 2019-20.

What stands out the most to me about Frechette’s big junior season is that all five of her goals were scored at evens and she averaged 1.39 SOG/GP. It’s also important to note that she had a slow start, failing to find the box score in the first eight games. A natural center, Frechette won 51.9 percent of the draws she took, so she could find her way into the Pride’s lineup as the third or fourth-line center.

I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s an inconsistent scorer at the pro level but her ability to win draws and get shots on net as a depth forward will be something to keep an eye on.

Abby Nearis (F) | 27th overall from Brown University

Abby Nearis is a big, 6-foot winger who led the Brown Bears in penalty minutes in her junior season by taking 15 trips to the penalty box. If nothing else, she’ll add some size and nasty to the Pride but on a team as deep as Boston. She should fit right in on a Pride team filled with leaders. She captained the Bears as a junior and was an assistant captain as a sophomore.

Nearis finished her collegiate season with four goals, 10 assists, and 90 PIM in 83 games. And, although I don’t put much stock in plus/minus as a stat, she finished her career as a -60. That might be an alarming number for Pride fans but keep in mind that Brown isn’t exactly a powerhouse. In her junior season, the Bears finished with a record of 3-23-3 and a -86 goal differential. So, relative to her team and teammates, I wouldn’t be too concerned about Nearis’ production or plus/minus. Instead, I’d focus in on what she can bring to Boston as a big, defensive forward who isn’t afraid to put her body on the line.

Data courtesy of EliteProspects.com, HockeyEastOnline.com, and collegehockeynews.com.