After the NWHL added the Minnesota Whitecaps, we at The Ice Garden got to wondering, what would an NWHL Expansion Draft look like?
So we held a mock draft of our own.
Four brave souls became the general managers of each of the founding four teams. Because we live in a fantasy world, we could pretend no one was retiring, and players could move freely about the league. Using the third season’s rosters, the GMs were allowed to protect three forwards, two defenders, and a goaltender. Each gave a reasoning as to why they protected specific players.
The commissioner (me) compiled the available player list. Anyone got a chance to draft their own Whitecaps team using the same guidelines: three forwards, two defenders, and a goaltender. Tomorrow afternoon, we’ll share those rosters.
We’d love to see your Whitecaps teams too! If you’d like to participate, you’ll find the available players list at the bottom of the post. Share your team in a FanPost, in the comments, or on social media.
Whale general manager Mike Murphy protected the following players:
Kelly Babstock - Kelly Babstock was without a doubt the most dangerous and impactful forward on Connecticut’s roster; picking Babstock was a no-brainer.
Emily Fluke - Emily Fluke led Connecticut in points as a rookie. She was also the only skater on the Whale who played 12 or more games who finished in the green in plus/minus in 2017-18. Fluke’s ability to create offense and agitate opposing players — yes, that is a skill — makes her an easy pick to protect in the expansion draft.
Amanda Boulier - Amanda Boulier is a smooth, versatile, and dynamic skater. She stood out playing wing, center, and defense for the Whale in her rookie season. Boulier is the real deal.
Elena Orlando - Orlando is a no-nonsense shutdown defender who possesses great strength and good discipline. She’s also arguably the NWHL’s best shot blocker.
Cydney Roesler - Roesler is a solid two-way defender with good size and a knack for getting pucks on net. I gave her the edge over veteran Jordan Brickner because she’s a little younger and has a right-handed shot.
Sydney Rossman - Rossman is a slam dunk as the goalie to protect. She’s a workhorse starter with a lot of potential. Her numbers from her rookie season really don’t tell the whole story; Rossman has the goods to be a franchise goaltender.
Riveters general manager Jen Silber protected the following players:
Alexa Gruschow - The second-best scorer in the league during the 2017-18 season, with THE ISOBEL-CUP-WINNING GOAL.
Madison Packer - The best scorer in the league during the 2017-18 season, with 10 goals and eight assists, including a key late-season hat trick in Boston.
Rebecca Russo - The other second-best scorer in the league during the 2017-18 season, with nine goals and eight assists.
Courtney Burke - This strong defender has great vision and hockey smarts. As power play quarterback, she has a knack for finding her teammates — two goals (both on the power play) and 17 assists during the 2017-18 season.
Ashley Johnston - She isn’t just the team captain, and one of the “core four” original Riveters; she’s also a durable defender with 11 blocked shots and a +9.
Katie Fitzgerald - This required no thought at all, of course. Fitzy pitched two consecutive playoff shutouts in 2017-18, after being named Goaltender of the Year in 2016-17.
Beauts general manager Connor Murphy protected the following players:
Hayley Scamurra - The NWHL’s Rookie of The Year registered 14 points (7G, 7A) in 14 games. Scamurra was the most dynamic game-changer for Buffalo in her debut season.
Maddie Elia - The fellow rookie phenom also scored 14 points (5G, 9A) in 14 games. Elia is a dangerous player down the middle and excels on the faceoff dot.
Corinne Buie - The captain and Isobel Cup champion has proven to be clutch incarnate in her NWHL career. Buie’s blend of skill and leadership would be nearly impossible to replicate or replace.
Sarah Edney - The Canadian defender has been a catalyst on the Buffalo blue line. Edney is strong in the transition game and is never shy about putting pucks on net.
Sarah Casorso - The fan favorite is a tenacious defender despite her small stature. Casorso is an assist machine who holds her blue line well and shuts the opposition down with intelligent stickwork and blocked shots.
Amanda Leveille - The NWHL’s 2018 Goaltender of the Year nearly brought the Isobel Cup back to Buffalo with her remarkable season. Leveille provides what every team is desperate to find — excellence in net.
Pride general manager Al Saniuk protected the following players:
Jillian Dempsey – Pride Captain. Does it all. Power Play. PK. Battles for every puck. Goes to the net. First on the ice, last off. Kid’s got heart.
Dana Trivigno – A 57.7 faceoff winning percentage is very, very important. Trivigno is a smart, speedy playmaker who always influences the outcome of a game.
Sydney Daniels – Daniels had six point is seven games (4-2-6) last year. She’s a tenacious forward who always seems to be where the puck is. Daniels can frequently be found in front of the net. She’s also not afraid to shoot the puck.
Alyssa Gagliardi – Led the D-corps in points, led the team in +/-. 2018 All-Star. ‘Nuff said.
Lexi Bender – 2018 All-Star. Played big minutes for the Pride against the toughest competition every night. A young, solid defender.
Brittany Ott – Has been the Pride’s starting goaltender for three straight seasons. She’s an Isobel Cup Champion with tons of experience. A proven winner.
Available player list
If the player is crossed off, it means they were protected. Happy drafting!