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Boston Pride announce 18 signings

The core has re-signed and is bolstered by some new additions

Michelle Jay/NWHL

The Boston Pride just opened the floodgates. The defending Isobel Cup champions just announced 18 signings, including the return of captain Jillian Dempsey, alternate captain Kaleigh Fratkin, and superstar wingers McKenna Brand and Christina Putigna as well as superstar goaltender Lovisa Selander.

That’s right. The Pride are back.

Forwards: Jillian Dempsey, McKenna Brand, Christina Putigna, Kayla Friesen, Meghara McManus, Taylor Wenczkowski, Tori Sullivan, Katelynn Russ, Sammy Davis
Defenders: Abby Cook, Kaleigh Fratkin, Mallory Souliotis, Jenna Rheault, Lauren Kelly, Paige Capistran
Goalies: Lovisa Selander, Victoria Hanson, Katie Burt

The Core Returns

Boston brought back its veteran core.

Dempsey, Brand, and Putigna — the best forward line in the NWHL — have all re-signed. Fratkin and Souliotis — arguably the best d-pair in the NWHL — is back. Between the pipes, Lovisa Selander and Victoria Hanson have both inked new deals to keep them in black and yellow. Lake Placid rookie sensation Sammy Davis is also back for a second season. She’s joined by fellow sophomores Meghara McManus and Taylor Wenczkowski.

So, pretty much the entire crew that won the 2021 Isobel Cup is back, spare a few noteworthy absences.

New contracts for Taylor Turnquist, Briana Mastel, Carlee Turner, Lexie Laing, and Mary Parker were not announced today. Turnquist is a big absence from this defense — we’ll have more on that later. Mastel was a depth player for the Pride, but definitely had a lot of value. We had heard over social media not to expect Turner, Laing, or Parker to return to the team this season. That’s a lot of talent to replace. But it looks the Pride found a way to do it.

New Faces

Maybe the biggest story of today’s news is the return of goaltender Katie Burt, the 1st overall pick of the 2017 NWHL Draft, who is back with the Pride after spending two seasons with the PWHPA. Burt has already proven she has the talent to be a starting goaltender in the NWHL, which means Boston is now unbelievably deep in net with Selander and Hanson also returning.

This is the best goaltending trio we’ve ever seen in the NWHL.

The Pride have also added two forwards who last skated with the Connecticut Whale: Kayla Friesen and Katelynn Russ. Friesen and Russ were two of Connecticut’s most dangerous forwards in Lake Placid, so this is a big loss for the Whale and a big win for the Pride. Together, they make the Pride’s already stacked offense that much deeper.

Another new face in the mix is defender Abby Cook, who played her college puck at Boston University. Cook is a big, 5-foot-10 right-handed defender who spent the 2020-21 season in the SDHL with Djurgården. She scored a goal and had four assists in the 36 games last season and had 30 points — 10 of which were goals — in 36 games in her final season at BU.

What’s Next?

This is a full roster. It’s nine forwards, six defenders, and three goaltenders. That’s three forward lines, three d-pairs, and a ridiculous amount of goalie depth.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Pride make a few depth signings before the puck drops but there’s a chance they used their cap space to keep their veterans happy and comfortable. Still, injuries happen and you want a lot of bodies for practice and in the event that you need to juggle lines and try things out. The Pride are ready to play, but they are probably not done.