Next up on the list is Daryl Watts, who has consistently stayed in the top ten of our list since first appearing on it back in 2018. She peaked at No. 3 after a massive season that earned her the Patty Kaz as a college freshman. Now, at 23, she comes in at No. 6.
How Last Season Went
Last season for Daryl Watts went how most of them go for her...incredibly well.
After a massive transfer from Boston College to University of Wisconsin in 2019, Watts added a NCAA title to her repertoire in 2021 while scoring the OT game winner in the championship game to bring a sixth national title to Wisconsin that season.
🚨 WISCONSIN GOAL AND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP WIN— The Ice Garden (@TheIceGarden) March 21, 2021
DARYL WATTS WITH THE GAME WINNING GOAL pic.twitter.com/Vp6dwBxy44
She went on to play an additional year of hockey for Wisconsin with her fifth year of NCAA eligibility in an attempt to collect another title. Unfortunately, the Badgers were not able to do that, losing in the quarterfinals to Northeastern, but Watts still netted an incredible 57 points on the season to lead her team.
With 28 goals on the season, Watts had her best scoring year at Wisconsin to help the Badgers be a heavy contender in the tournament and land herself in contention for the Patty Kazmaier Award yet again.
In 2020, Watts led all collegiate athletes in points per game average, it was over 2 goals per game. Additionally, in her three years with Wisconsin, she broke a handful of school records with ease.
Lifetime Major Accomplishments
- 2018 NCAA Rookie of the Year
- 2018 NCAA Patty Kazmaier Award
- 2018 Beanpot MVP
- 2016 U18 World Junior Championship silver medal
- 2017 U18 World Junior Championship silver medal
- 2021 NCAA Champion
- 2021 WCHA Player of the Year/
What Comes Next
Hopefully a lengthy professional career and success with Team Canada. Watts has previously acknowledged that she has had a hard time making her way onto the senior national team roster, leaving the rest of us to simply ask why?
She is easily one of the best Canadian players in the game right now, and a young forward that could add massive depth to the Canadian roster. Hopefully she gets her shot at Olympic gold with that team.
Like most graduating NCAA players these days, there are a handful of options on where to play, none as flashy as a NHL contract yet, but this may be the largest pool of opportunity we’ve ever seen and Watts will surely have teams fighting over her.
Too high or Too low?
For once, it feels perfect. While there was a time that Watts was appropriately named in the top three, and a time when she dipped down to be ranked lower than that, it seems like she’s evened out to a well-rounded, well-accomplished player who is just plain good.
This may fluctuate as time goes on, and she still has another shot at our list next year but for now, this seems like exactly where Watts needs to be headed out of her collegiate career and onto even bigger things.