After months of silence, the Minnesota Whitecaps have finally announced their first signing of the 2021 offseason. Fittingly enough, that (re-)signing was veteran forward Allie Thunstrom.
The 2021-22 season will be Thunstrom’s fourth in the recently re-branded PHF. She returns to the Whitecaps after scoring four goals in two games in the 2021 Isobel Cup Playoffs after going scoreless in four games in Lake Placid. That goose egg was a big surprise coming from the reigning co-MVP of the league until some details came to the surface that revealed why Thunstrom appeared to be missing a gear. In March, Dan Rice reported that Thunstrom was still recovering from a torn MCL while playing in Lake Placid after undergoing heart surgery in June.
So, after getting a chance to heal up, Thunstrom returned to form and scored four goals and put a combined 13 shots on goal in two postseason games for Minnesota. She looked like Allie Thunstrom.
Allie Thunstrom's goal in the 2021 Isobel Cup Finals but with the beginning scene of Cars 1 as the audio pic.twitter.com/gj1jUgZCn2— alyssa (@aturnz11) March 27, 2021
And that is exactly what the Whitecaps will be hoping to see from their MVP-caliber veteran winger in 2021-22. Thunstrom enters the season with 29 goals — 23 of which are even-strength goals — in 44 games, all for Minnesota. She has a career average of 4.66 SOG/GP and has averaged 0.95 P1/GP (primary points per game). In those 44 games of PHF regular season action, the former Boston College standout and speed skater has taken just seven trips to the penalty box. She has also scored three shorthanded goals for Minnesota and has an Isobel Cup (2019) to her name.
She’s one of the most dangerous offensive threats in the history of the PHF. There are a lot of defenders who have been on the wrong end of highlights trying to chase down the speedster.
“Having the opportunity to wear a Whitecaps jersey again is an honor I don’t take lightly – I have dreamed of being a professional hockey player since the moment I put skates on for the first time,” Thunstrom shared in Minnesota’s press release. “I’m so excited to have another opportunity to take the ice with my friends and the best teammates in front of the best fans in the country. I can’t wait to be back at TRIA representing the State of Hockey and welcoming ALL hockey fans – everyone has a place at our rink.”
There are a few safe bets for some of the players we expect the Whitecaps to announce in the coming days and weeks but one player they will not be announcing is star defender Amanda Boulier. Boulier signed with the Pride on Sept. 14 after playing two seasons with the Whitecaps. We also know that Nina Rodgers won’t be back after she signed on to be an assistant coach at Dartmouth University.
That leaves Minnesota with a big hole to fill on the blue line and in need of some scoring depth, which makes this long-anticipated reveal of the Whitecaps roster that much more intriguing.
It’s a safe bet that franchise goaltender Amanda Leveille will be back and one would imagine we would have heard something if Jonna Curtis wasn’t returning. With Boulier now out of the picture, the Whitecaps focus should turn to re-signing Sydney Baldwin and finding another blueliner or two who can move the puck.
Now we wait to see which other parts of Minnesota’s core are returning and if there are any other parts of it that will need to be replaced.