The first trade in PWHL history is official: Boston defender Sophie Jaques has been traded to Minnesota for forward Susanna Tapani and defender Abby Cook.
Jaques, 23, has struggled to start the season. She quickly found herself falling from the top pair down to Boston’s seventh defender, and she has zero points through seven games. The reigning Patty Kazmaier winner is coming off a decorated career at Ohio State University. She was drafted 10th overall by Boston and signed a three-year contract back in October.
Tapani, 30, most recently centered Minnesota’s third line. The Finnish forward has two goals and three assists through five games. She has extensive experience with the Finnish national team, wearing bronze medals in the past two Olympics and appearing in eight IIHF World Championships. Tapani was drafted 25th overall by Minnesota and is signed to a two-year contract.
Lastly, Cook, 25, was on Minnesota’s bottom pairing this season and has one goal through nine games. Cook was an excellent two-way defender for Boston University and appeared in six games for the PHF’s Boston Pride in her first professional season last year. Cook was signed to a one-year as a camp invite.
It is unfortunate for Boston that Jaques did not work out, as she and Megan Keller could’ve been a spectacular top pairing for many years. At first glance, it looks like Boston lost this trade by a mile. However, she simply did not look like herself in Boston, and it is difficult to say if that was just because of Boston’s systems. A great college player does not always make a good professional player, so we could be seeing some of that here too. In that sense, it was smart for Boston to cut their losses now. They must have gotten the sense that Jaques wasn't going to break out of this slump, at least in Boston, so you might as well get as much as you can before her slump goes on too long.
In the end, while on paper Boston is downgrading through this trade, it is mutually beneficial. Minnesota is in desperate need of reliable defenders not named Lee Stecklein, and Jaques proved in college that she can be a phenomenal one. A change of scenery could be all she needs. Meanwhile, Boston gets scoring depth that they desperately need in Tapani and more defensive depth in Cook.