A CWHL Mock Draft

We tried, and therefore you can’t criticize us.

It’s hard to do a good CWHL Mock Draft because, well, it’s not a true draft. Much of it is wild guessing about which players elected which cities and who wants to play away from their hometown. But we took a stab at it anyways.

As a reminder, the CWHL allowed its general managers to pre-sign first and second-round picks this year. A “*” next to a player’s name indicates that they have been pre-signed.

Round 1

Worcester (formerly Boston) Blades: Meeri Räisänen, Goalie, HPK Hämeenlinna

Räisänen has excelled for years at the international level, representing Finland once at the U18 level and at the senior level since 2012, with World Championship All-Star nods in both 2015 and 2016. She’s never been better, with a bronze medal win in February at the Olympics and a Tuula Puputti award for Best Goaltender in the Naisten Liiga. She took a high volume of shots with HPK and is looking to better her game through high-level play in North America, so she should fit well with the Blades. Although Lauren Dahm has excelled between the pipes during the last two seasons with Worcester, there’s nothing wrong with a little competition.

Toronto Furies: Sarah Nurse*, Left Wing, University of Wisconsin (via Hockey Canada)

Nurse is an elite scorer who will no doubt make an impact for the Furies in her very first season. She put up nearly a point per game at Wisconsin­, and spent this past year lacing up her skates for Hockey Canada. Although she didn’t score a huge number of goals in Pyeongchang, she lit up Maddie Rooney on her strong side and Toronto desperately needs that kind of offense. I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t come away with at least a nomination for Rookie of the Year at the end of the season.

Markham Thunder: Victoria Bach*, Center, Boston University

We’ve been shouting about Victoria Bach all year, and it’s not hard to see why. Bach played her senior year on rookie mode, scoring 39 goals in 33 games, with four hat tricks and a thirteen-game point streak. Although CWHL competition is a step up, she’s sure to be in the hunt for this year’s Angela James Bowl. Markham leaned heavily on Jamie Lee Rattray and Kristen Richards last season, and although Laura Stacey has returned to shoulder some of the work, Bach should help with scoring depth as the Thunder look to defend their Clarkson Cup title.

Calgary Inferno: Halli Krzyzaniak*, Defense, University of North Dakota (via Djurgårdens IF; Hockey Canada)

Although Krzyzaniak isn’t the flashiest player, she’s one of the game’s gifted young defenders who can be a two-way threat. A late cut from Team Canada before the Olympics, she struggled on the top pairing against Team USA, but clearly has high-level hockey intelligence. At North Dakota, she put up 10.6 points over the average of other UND defenders and the UND staff estimated she played over 28 minutes per game. She’ll do best with an experienced partner, potentially recent addition Kacey Bellamy.

KRS Vanke: Leah Lum*, Defense, University of Connecticut

Lum put up big numbers in her four years—she leaves UConn tied for fifth all-time in goals and second for assists. Lum has expressed her hopes to play for China in the 2022 Olympics, so joining KRS is a no-brainer. She’s already been invited to Team China camps, and experience playing in the CWHL should prepare her for the bright lights of Beijing.

Toronto Furies (from Montréal): Shea Tiley*, Goalie, Clarkson

Losing Erin Ambrose was definitely worth it for the Furies, as it means they get to wade into this year’s deep GTA draft pool twice as often in the early rounds. Toronto desperately needs a goalie, and Shea Tiley is so much more than the best available netminder. Clarkson has a history of producing elite goalies (Worcester’s Lauren Dahm, Markham’s Erica Howe), and Tiley is no exception. It’s not an exaggeration to say she’s a generational talent: Tiley leaves Clarkson with two national championships, 114 wins (tied with the legendary Noora Räty), and a slew of postseason awards, including a Patty Kazmaier top-10 nomination her senior year. I’ll be shocked if she doesn’t start for the Furies in October.

Round 2

Worcester Blades: Meghan Turner, Right Wing, Quinnipiac

Turner doesn’t immediately stand out when compared to other forwards in this draft class, but that doesn’t mean she lacks talent. When Quinnipiac graduated most of its scorers after her junior season, she stepped up and had the best production of her collegiate career.

Toronto Furies: Brittany Howard*, Right Wing, Robert Morris University

A former Buffalo Beauts pick, Howard is an dynamic puck-mover who took over RMU’s leading scorer mantle... during her junior season. After a stellar senior year, she leaves Pittsburgh as the program leader in goals, assists and points— and as the first hockey player to be named Dapper Dan Sportswoman of the Year. She’ll definitely help the Furies rebuild at forward.

Markham Thunder: Ailish Forfar*, Center, Ryerson University

After three mediocre seasons at Dartmouth, Forfar developed into an elite scoring talent at Ryerson over the past two years. She was the heart of the team’s offense, putting up 36 points in 45 games. She should develop into a powerful center after a few years at the CWHL level.

Calgary Inferno: Rebecca Leslie*, Right Wing, Boston University

Unfortunately, Leslie has often been overshadowed by teammate Victoria Bach, but no longer. Coming off a four-year campaign in which she paced well over a point per game, she has the potential to become a serious threat at the CWHL level.

KRS Vanke: Kimberly Newell*, Goalie, Princeton University

Newell, like Lum, is of Chinese descent and has her sights set on representing China at the 2022 Olympics. At Princeton, she lead the team to its first Ivy League title in ten years and put up progressively better numbers each year as the starter. Although Noora Räty will almost definitely be starting for KRS this year, Newell will have the opportunity to learn from one of the best.

Les Canadiennes de Montréal: Geneviève Bannon*, Right Wing, Clarkson University

Les Canadiennes strike again. Bannon not only has two national championships from her college days with Clarkson, but also put up nearly a point per game in the SDHL last season. Opposing teams will have their eyes on Marie-Philip Poulin, Hilary Knight, Mélodie Daoust, and Ann-Sophie Bettez, which means Bannon will slip under the radar towards the back of the net.

Round 3

Worcester Blades: Carrie Atkinson, Defense, Djurgårdens IF

Atkinson might not be a high-scoring defender, but she comes with a year of pro experience from the SDHL.

Toronto Furies: Megan Sullivan, Right Wing, Colgate University

Sullivan helped Colgate propel itself from the bottom of the ECAC to the NCAA title game. Here’s hoping she can do the same for the Furies.

Markham Thunder: Mellissa Channell, Defense, University of Wisconsin

Although Markham has a strong defensive corps, adding Channell can’t hurt. She’s already played with Laura Stacey and Jamie Lee Rattray at the 2016 Nations Cup, so she’ll fit right in on the Thunder.

Calgary Inferno: Alex Rigsby, Goalie, University of Wisconsin (via USA Hockey; Minnesota Whitecaps)

Calgary needs a starting goalie after the departures of Geneviève Lacasse and Delayne Brian. Although Rigsby didn’t play in Pyeongchang, she put up unreal numbers at Wisconsin and is clearly an elite talent.

KRS Vanke: none available?

Given that KRS Vanke has already hit its cap for import players (not that it’s mattered before) they’re probably done for the evening.

Toronto Furies (from Montréal): Elijah Milne-Price, Goalie, Robert Morris University

Toronto needs goalies, and although Milne-Price is no Shea Tiley, she only needed one season to make her mark at RMU.

Round 4

Worcester Blades: Rebecca Fleming, Center, University of Connecticut

The D-III Holy Cross transfer’s production dropped slightly at UConn, but not enough to send her further down the draft.

Toronto Furies: Megan Quinn, Defense, Syracuse University

Quinn played all three zones at Syracuse, and Toronto will make quick work of her speed.

Markham Thunder: Lauren Williams, Defense, University of Wisconsin

Toronto has drained most of the forwards from the draft, but Markham should take this opportunity to reunite Williams with fellow Badger Channell.

Calgary Inferno: Hannah Miller, Center, St. Lawrence University

Although her production slipped during her senior season, Miller has shown she’s capable of playing and excelling at a high level.

KRS Vanke: (none available)

Les Canadiennes de Montréal: Catherine Daoust, Defense, University of Minnesota-Duluth

Montréal’s newest Daoust leaves UMD with a massive number of games played, which should help her as she tries to crack this roster.

Round 5

Don’t worry, this is the last round we’ll be doing. The draft continues until each player has been selected by a team— and if our calculations are right, it should be a deep pool for Toronto and Markham this year.

Worcester Blades: Malika Aldabergenova, Center, Aisulu Almaty (Kazakhstan)

Toronto Furies: Julia Fedeski, Defense, University of New Hampshire

Markham Thunder: Alysha Burriss, Left Wing, Syracuse

Calgary Inferno: Eden Murray, Center, Yale

KRS Vanke: (none available)

Les Canadiennes de Montréal: Taylor Willard, Defense, University of Vermont