Next up in our rankings: a current and future WCHA star. Josefin Bouveng has already honed her talents with the Swedish Olympic team, while Gabbie Hughes will try and break in with the U.S. women’s senior team in future seasons.
20 | Josefin Bouveng | Team Sweden | Brynäs IF
Bouveng posted another strong season in the SDHL as a 20-year-old, finishing fourth for her club and sixth in the league in scoring. In all, she totaled 24 goals, 22 assists, and 46 points in 28 games played for Brynäs. She was productive in all situations for the club, and she’s already shown to be one of the most talented goal-scoring prospects in the league (and the world).
She also made her Olympic debut with Sweden this February. Bouveng was a bit quiet production-wise, although she still showed off her skill. And the lone goal she scored was one of the most important all tournament for the Swedes. She notched the game-winner against China to secure their first win in Beijing and help secure them a place in the quarterfinals.
She’s already a player that the national team is clearly relying upon to generate offense, and she’ll be a huge part of their future plans over the next decade or so. She didn’t average the most minutes up front, but she certainly put up plenty of shots on goal: her 17 in five games led the team.
- She was named to Sweden’s 2022 Olympic team.
- She won the SDHL’s Elite Prospect Award in 2020-21.
- She won a silver medal with Team Sweden at the 2018 IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship.
What comes next
After an excellent stint in the SDHL for the past five seasons, Bouveng will head to the NCAA to play with Minnesota. Here’s what Minnesota coach Brad Frost had to say about her when they announced her signing:
“Josefin is a natural goal scorer. She has a quick release and a knack for finding the back of the net. Josefin plays a very honest 200 foot game and sees the ice at a very high-level. She has had plenty of international experience with Team Sweden’s U18 team and is now preparing to play on the world’s biggest stage. We are thrilled to have our first player from Sweden joining our program and cannot wait to watch and cheer on Josefin in the Olympics.”
Bouveng has already established herself as a top talent in the SDHL and on the Swedish national team; there’s little doubt she’ll do the same when she comes over to the NCAA. We should see her as an impact player immediately for the Gophers and at the top of the WCHA’s scoring lists.
Too high or too low
Bouveng boasts some of the best raw offensive skill of any player on this list. This ranking feels slightly low to me just based on potential, but she still has a couple of weeks before she turns 21. Bouveng should be on the rankings for years to come and if she finds success with the Gophers, she’ll likely be moving right on up.
19 | Gabbie Hughes | Minnesota Duluth
Hughes had an excellent senior season with the Bulldogs, leading them back to the Frozen Four and into their first national title game in 12 years. She finished tied for third in the national scoring race with 59 points in 40 games, scoring 22 goals and 37 assists. She also won 527 faceoffs for the Bulldogs, good for a 56.3% success rate.
Hughes has been a difference-maker for UMD since she started playing college hockey, but she took her game to another level as a senior. She’s one of the niftiest play-makers in the NCAA with superb vision and creativity to go along with her raw skill. And she came up big during the Bulldogs’ playoff run, scoring nine points in six-straight playoff games to help them get back to the Frozen Four.
Against Harvard in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, she was practically unstoppable, scoring a hat trick to propel the Bulldogs to victory. In the quarterfinals against Minnesota, Hughes notched the game-winner in the third on a beautiful wrister.
Gabbie Hughes loves the NCAA Tournament. pic.twitter.com/lgieffVBXi— UMD Women's Hockey (@UMDWHockey) March 12, 2022
- She was a Top-3 Finalist for the 2022 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award.
- She was named a CCM/AHCA First Team All-American in 2021-22.
- She was named an All-WCHA First Team forward in 2021-22.
- She was a finalist for the 2022 Hockey Humanitarian Award.
- She was named to the All-WCHA Second Team twice (2019-20, 2020-21).
- She was selected to USCHO’s All-Rookie Team in 2018-19.
- She won gold with Team USA at the 2017 IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship.
What comes next
Hughes is returning for a fifth season with the Bulldogs, so she’ll have another crack at an NCAA title and a Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award nomination. Outside of winning those two trophies, there isn’t much left for Hughes to prove at this stage.
The logical next step for her career is to gain more of a solid footing with USA Hockey. She’s pretty well established in their program from a development perspective, but the next step is to make a splash with the senior national team and show her skill on that stage. With her ceiling, the potential is certainly there for Hughes to contribute to gold-medal-winning squads for Team USA.
Too high or too low
The late teens is a little low for me personally, but I’ve been very high on Hughes since she first entered the NCAA. I’m happy to say that to this point, she’s so far proven me right. This is a player with a lot of potential who’s already put together quite the resume to match. She should be a difference-maker well into her career.