The Whale made a big splash in free agency with the regular season rapidly approaching. Connecticut announced today that it had agreed to terms with five players, including returning forward Meghan Huertas and last year’s practice squad goaltender Laura Brennan.
Joining Huertas and Brennan on the 2017-18 Whale roster will be goaltender Keira Goin from Utica (NCAA D-III) and forwards Jamie Goldsmith from St. Lawrence University (graduated 2013) and Grace Klienbach who captained the Neumann University Knights last season (NCAA D-III).
“I feel privileged to be joining the Whale this season,” Goldsmith shared in the NWHL’s press release. “I am fulfilling the dreams of my ten-year-old self and am thankful for the women who came before me and blazed a trail for women's professional hockey. By joining the league, I feel a great sense of responsibility to continue to carry that torch. With the group we have in the Whale locker room, I fully expect us to have great chemistry off the ice and know that product will carry itself on to the ice.”
Huertas had four points in nine games for the Whale last season after joining the team last January. The Florida native helped keep Connecticut in the hunt last season after the team lost Ivana Bilic and Molly Engstrom. She could be stepping into a larger role in the Whale’s offense this season.
The Whale now have 21 of a possible 25 players signed for the 2017-18 season, including three goaltenders. The news of today’s signings comes two days after Haley Skarupa agreeing to terms with the Boston Pride, which has left the Whale in need of another top-six forward. Nicole Costa and Nicole Connery, standout forwards from last season for Connecticut, are still unsigned.
One storyline to keep an eye on for the Whale this season will be who emerges as the back-up goaltender to Sydney Rossman. Brennan is the veteran, but has never played in an NWHL game. Goin’s numbers with Utica impressive, but it was against NCAA D-III competition. Regardless of who the back-up will be, Rossman is beginning to look like the biggest offseason addition made by the Whale.