Even though the CWHL Draft registration officially closed at midnight, August 1, we're still getting new names trickling in on the draft prospect list.
Alex Carpenter, a USWNT star and a member of the USA national team that's going to centralize in Tampa for the 2018 Olympics, appeared on the CWHL draft list on Wednesday.
And to say nobody really saw this one coming is a bit of an understatement.
Carpenter was a member of the Boston Pride last season, finishing second in league scoring. She was also a member of Team USA's gold-medal winning team at the IIHF World Championships this year.
Carpenter finished 2nd in NWHL scoring last year and won the Patty Kaz in 2015. Also, she's 23. She is *really* good.— Annie (@Baseball_Annie_) August 2, 2017
She's not the only national team player to register for the draft — Mélodie Daoust, who won gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, is also registered — but Daoust registration seemed to make a bit more sense. Ever since the emergence of the NWHL, the national teams have been divided pretty evenly; the Canadian national team players usually play in the CWHL while the US national players moved en route to the NWHL. Daoust has also played with Les Canadiennes (then the Montreal Stars) before, and went to school at McGill. It seems like a given that she'll be drafted by Les Canadiennes.
Carpenter marks the first active American national team player to register for the CWHL draft this year. Kelli Stack, a surprise cut from the USWNT, and Shiann Darkangelo and Emily Janiga, both players with national team experience, have all indicated they'll be back in the CWHL this year, but Carpenter is a bit of a mystery with her decision to register.
Her father, Bobby Carpenter, is on the international advisory board for the Kunlun men's team and will also be one of their assistant coaches next year, for what it's worth.
Carp's father is a member of the Kunlun men's international advisory board - Kunlun will also have a CWHL team this season https://t.co/DC5NkmDh1E— Laura Berestecki (@LBerestecki) August 2, 2017
It's possible that Carpenter has decided she wants to play post-Olympics, and has decided she wants to move from the NWHL to the CWHL. If Carpenter had returned to the Pride, she could have been a huge boost to a team that is going to miss their Olympians this year.
She also may just be seeing where she can get the best deal -- there have been players in the past that registered for the CWHL draft and then signed in the NWHL or never played a game for their team that drafted them.
But if she does decide to play after the Olympics and moves from the NWHL to the CWHL, that's not exactly a vote of confidence for the NWHL. This is all speculation at this point — registering for the draft is just the first step in possibly playing for the CWHL — but if more USWNT start to follow Carpenter, then this could get very interesting.