2024 PWHL Season Recap: Boston

Boston fell just short of claiming the Walter Cup after a rollercoaster season.

2024 PWHL Season Recap: Boston
Members of PWHL Boston stand on the blue line for the national anthem during the semifinals. Photo courtesy of the PWHL.

Last week, the inaugural PWHL season came to a close, which means it's time for season recaps! I’ll be looking at Boston’s season, and be sure to keep checking back for recaps of the others from my fellow TIG staffers!

Season Summary

PWHL Boston skates off the ice while celebrating their Game 4 win in the PWHL Finals. Most of them are raising their arms. They're all back-to the camera wearing white away uniforms.
PWHL Boston celebrates their Game 4 win in the PWHL Finals. Photo by Michael Riley/PWHL Boston.


  • Regular Season: 8-4-3-9 (41 points, third in the standings)
  • Playoffs: 1-4-0-3 (one win shy of the Walter Cup)

PWHL Boston had a rollercoaster season. They came into the year with high expectations, but they couldn’t find much consistency for a while and headed into the five post-Worlds break games five points out of a playoff spot. However, the break sparked them, and they rallied to make the playoffs, sweep Montréal in the first round, and then take Minnesota to five games in the final. They may not have won the ultimate prize, but considering where they were just over a month ago, there’s a lot to be proud of.

Throughout the year, the most consistent part of the team was goaltending. Aerin Frankel was the star everyone expected her to be, finishing third in the league in goals-against average and save percentage while playing the third-most games of any netminder. Backup Emma Söderberg also had a solid season despite what her numbers show, and she gave Boston a chance to win whenever she was in. 

On the other hand, Boston's biggest problem was a lackluster offense. Despite having what appeared to be a stacked offensive roster, they scored the fewest goals in the league in the regular season, tallying just 50 for an average of 2.08 per game. Things got even worse in the playoffs, with 12 in eight games for an average of 1.5 per game (evenly split between the rounds despite the Finals going two more games). They never quite found the right line combinations to unlock their full potential, but thanks to their strong defense and spectacular goaltending, they still nearly managed to win it all.

Team MVP

Aerin Frankel stands in her crease, slightly crouched while tracking the puck. She is wearing a green home uniform and her tan pads.
Aerin Frankel prepares to make a save during a PWHL Finals game. Photo courtesy of the PWHL.

Aerin Frankel. 

Simply put, without Frankel’s brilliance, Boston’s season would’ve been over a long time ago. She further cemented her status as one of the best goaltenders in the world this season with consistently excellent play on an inconsistent team. She kept them in countless games until they found their footing, and even stole some wins, especially in the playoffs. At just 25 years old, she has a long career ahead, and luckily for Boston, they have her for at least the next two years.

Top Rookie

Müller watches a play develop while in pursuit of the puck. She is slightly crouched while skating, and wearing a green home uniform.
Alina Müller hunts the puck during a PWHL Finals game. Photo by Michael Riley/PWHL Boston.

Alina Müller. 

Müller was as advertised in her first North American professional season. She ended the regular season third in league rookie points with 16 points and tied with Megan Keller for the team lead in points. That said, given the team’s overall offensive struggles, it still felt like she had another gear she could reach if she had more support, especially when it comes to goal-scoring. Still, she was one of the brightest stars for Boston this year, and her speed and playmaking abilities were game-changers when she got to use them. She'll only continue to grow as she gets more comfortable with the much more physical professional game, so she should be a superstar in the league for a long time.

Roster Status

Brown turns to skate forward with the puck. She is looking up ice while wearing a green home uniform.
Emily Brown skates with the puck during a PWHL Finals game. Photo by Kelly Hagenson/PWHL.

Given the CBA’s restrictions on multi-year contracts, every team faces a potential high roster turnover this year. Each team was only allowed six players on three-year contracts, and up to another five on two-year contracts. That said, this did not have to be considered during trades, so as you’ll see, Boston’s numbers are a little different. They traded Sophie Jaques, who was on a three-year deal, for Susanna Tapani and Abby Cook, who were on two and one-year deals, respectively. So, they only have five players with two years remaining, but six with one more year. Outside of that, everything is as it should be, so here’s an overview of the contract status of every player.

Two More Years (5):

  • Forwards
    • Hilary Knight
    • Alina Müller
    • Jamie Lee Rattray
  • Defenders
    • Megan Keller
  • Goaltenders
    • Aerin Frankel

One More Year (6):

  • Forwards
    • Loren Gabel
    • Susanna Tapani
    • Theresa Schafzahl
    • Taylor Girard
  • Defenders
    • Jessica DiGirolamo
  • Goaltenders
    • Emma Söderberg

Free Agents (14):

  • Forwards
    • Hannah Brandt
    • Sophie Shirley
    • Lexie Adzija
    • Gigi Marvin
    • Amanda Pelkey
    • Taylor Wenczkowski
    • Nicole Kosta
    • Kelly Babstock
  • Defenders
    • Emily Brown
    • Sidney Morin
    • Abby Cook
    • Kaleigh Fratkin
    • Jess Healey (but she is retiring to pursue a coaching career)
  • Goaltenders
    • Cami Kronish

Protected List (unsigned players under team control, both for one more year):

  • Caitrin Lonergan (F)
  • Tatum Skaggs (F)

Most of Boston’s forward core is under contract through at least next year, but they have some work to do on defense, with just two guaranteed to return. Brandt and Brown should be near the top of the list to re-sign, with both performing admirably in their roles. Brandt was a versatile center who head coach Courtney Kessel could play in any situation without fear, and she had a knack for clutch goals. Meanwhile, Brown was a minutes-munching shutdown defender who was a great complement to Keller. Depending on how the draft goes, she may end up in a reduced role next season, but she’s still a good player to have around. As for the others, there’s plenty more it would be nice to re-sign and there’s no one who would be a mistake to bring back. However, who will be best to re-sign will depend on who Boston drafts and who else is available during free agency.

Biggest Surprise

Knight skates up ice with the puck. She is mid-stick handle, and wearing a green home uniform.
Hilary Knight skates with the puck during a PWHL Finals game. Photo courtesy of the PWHL.

Hilary Knight. 

Knight had a rocky first PWHL season. She led her team in goal scoring, but she did so with just six goals in 24 games (Lexie Adzija also had six goals, but five came with Ottawa). She added five assists to go along with it and picked it up as the season went on, but she was still not quite herself.

That said, she was her usual self with Team USA at the Worlds in April, so it seemed to be more a matter of not being surrounded by the right type of players than Knight suddenly going drastically downhill. Boston’s offense as a whole was disjointed for most of the season, and it was a complex situation because part of it was due to Knight not being her usual goal-scoring machine self.

However, given Knight is at her best with playmakers who feed her the puck after she forces her way to a scoring area instead of trying to create offense all on her own, it also wasn’t a recipe for success. While this season undeniably goes down as a surprising down year, there’s no reason to believe she can’t rebound if Boston finds better-suited linemates for her. She turns 35 in July, though, so only time will tell if this season was a fluke.