Let’s imagine a world where, like the NHL, a trade deadline looms in women’s hockey.
What could each NWHL team do around the deadline to improve their chances at a cup this year or next? For the sake of suspension of disbelief, let’s pretend the players can relocate without concerns about money or location.
The gritty Pride are definitely not a stretch to win a cup this year. The big hole in their draft was the choice to draft Emily Clark, who, as a Canadian rookie, is probably unlikely to sign outside of the CWHL. With the goaltender depth that they have, especially given this year’s 4th-round pick Lovisa Selander, it might be worth it for them to send a goalie to Connecticut. Brittany Ott hasn’t gotten to play much this year but put up impressive numbers from 2016-2018, with an average SV% of .916 over those two seasons. With the loss of Meeri Raisanen for the rest of the season, the Whale might be convinced to part with one of their draft picks — perhaps BC’s Makenna Newkirk or Merrimack’s Katelyn Rae.
If the Whale want to make a push for a Cup this year, they need a little help. The signings they made this weekend will definitely make an impact, but the goalie situation is still a little bit tenuous. They could use a presence like Brittany Ott to complement Lundberg and help backstop them in the playoffs, where it will be important to give the offense a chance to really get going. Their draft this year was great, and if they can sign two of QU’s Melissa Samoskevich, Merrimack’s Katelyn Rae, and BC’s Makenna Newkirk, they can afford to lose the remaining one to Boston, especially if Fluke, Mrázová, and Löwenhielm are planning on sticking around.
The Riveters are in a bad way. That being said, they’re not in a position where they need to rebuild. Their draft was good, especially if they can sign Annie Pankowski in the offseason. What they really need is a defensive-minded defender to help nail down their blueline, which has suffered since losing former captain Ashley Johnston. The Beauts’ defense is one of the best in the league, and they drafted another two great defenders this year (BC’s Megan Keller and Colgate’s Olivia Zafuto). If one of their veteran defenders can be convinced to take the trip to Newark, Jordyn Burns or Jacquie Greco would fit in with the Riveters and give them some blue-line depth. They can afford to lose a 3rd round pick for the next draft, especially with the offensive talent they have coming up.
The Beauts don’t need much. They’re poised for a great, deep playoff run, and a lot of their scoring comes from young players who likely aren’t going anywhere. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with stocking up on draft picks, especially since they compete with both Toronto-area CWHL teams for Ontario-based talent. Getting a suitable pick from the Riveters in exchange for a defender, especially knowing they have a shot at signing BC’s Megan Keller in the offseason, could be a good move for them.
The Whitecaps are, on average, the oldest team in the NWHL. They look great, and have made a huge statement in their first year in the league, but they have to know that they’re probably going to see a fair number of retirements over the summer, especially if they do win the Cup. Their draft was decent, but they could probably use some defensive depth. The Whale drafted Merrimack defender Dominique Kremer, who is from North Dakota. They could really benefit from some offensive firepower that Minnesota has in spades. Someone like Katie McGovern or Amy Schlagel would be a good fit for a Whale team that needs to build on its successes next season.
The Whale receive Katie McGovern; the Whitecaps receive Dominique Kremer
The Whale receive Brittany Ott; the Pride receive Makenna Newkirk
The Riveters receive Jordyn Burns; the Beauts receive a 3rd-round pick