NWHL Roster Recap: 12 weeks of signings

Where everything stands two months before the season starts

After 12 weeks of of free agency, 47 players have signed NWHL contracts. In the last two weeks, 15 players have been announced, a marked difference from the three weeks prior in which only one player had signed.

Let’s take a look at how the rosters are stacking up. Note: all recent signings are in bold.

Boston Pride

Forwards: 7 | Defenders: 5 | Goalies: 0 | Total: 12

Defender: Kaleigh Fratkin, Jenna Rheault, Lexi Bender, Mallory Souliotis, Lauren Kelly
Forward: Tori Sullivan, Christina Putigna, Lexie Laing, Mary Parker, Jillian Dempsey, McKenna Brand, Alyssa Wohlfeiler
Goaltender: n/a
Coach: Paul Mara
General Manager: Karilyn Pilch

After being by far the busiest team out of the gate, the Pride have slowed down as of late. Former Connecticut Whale forward Alyssa Wohlfeiler was their lone addition in the last two weeks.

The biggest note regarding Boston’s roster is that the team is still without a goalie. But, based on photos from their free agency camp, a few have tried out for the team. It’s not going to be easy to replace Katie Burt and Brittany Ott, though a mostly veteran defensive core should help too.

Buffalo Beauts

Forwards: 5 | Defenders: 3 | Goalies: 2 | Total: 10

Defender: Megan Delay, Becki Bowering, Marie-Jo Pelletier
Forward: Corinne Buie, Brooke Stacey, Kim Brown, Cassidy MacPherson, Emma Ruggiero
Goaltender: Mariah Fujimagari, Kelsey Neumann
Coach: Pete Perram
General Manager: Mandy Cronin

With the exception of Buie and Neumann, all of the Beauts who have signed thus far are new to the league. With only 24 games in a season, there’s not a lot of time for teams to get to know each other. First year head coach Pete Perram will have his work cut out for him working with this young roster.

Their roster is also leaning heavily towards Canadian players with 70% coming from north of the border.

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Connecticut Whale

Forwards: 6 | Defenders: 4 | Goalies: 0 | Total: 10

Defender: Shannon Doyle, Taylor Marchin, Elena Orlando, Jordan Brickner
Forward: Kendra Broad, Jane Morrisette, Grace Klienbach, Emma Vlasic, Kayla Meneghin, Sarah Hughson
Goaltender: n/a
Coach: n/a
General Manager: Bray Ketchum

The Whale are still without a coach, though Ketchum has been building a team of veteran players. Doyle, Orlando, and Brickner are long-time NWHL-ers. The Whale also have four other players who are returning for a second season. However, like the Pride, Connecticut is also without a goaltender. They’ll be searching for some fire power as Katerina Mrázová is heading to the SDHL and Emily Fluke hasn’t re-signed with the team.

This is a team that has really struggled over the past two years. The fact that every team has to rebuild without PWHPA players can only be a good thing for Connecticut’s chances to get back to being one of the top teams in the league.

Metropolitan Riveters

Forwards: 2 | Defenders: 2 | Goalies: 0 | Total: 4

Defender: Colleen Murphy, Rebecca Morse
Forward: Madison Packer, Cailey Hutchison
Goaltender: n/a
Coach: n/a
General Manager: Kate Whitman-Annis

The Riveters have not signed a player since Whitman-Annis re-signed Morse on June 18. They still don’t have a coach either. The only recent bit of news for the Riveters is that their new home rink, ProSkate, is in Monmouth Junction, N.J. That change in venue, away from NJ Transit, could mean that the Riveters could run into some obstacles as they continue to rebuild.

With Audra Richards moving home to Minnesota, Miye D’Oench retiring, and players like Alexa Gruschow and Rebecca Russo still unsigned, the Riveters could be in some trouble.

The Riveters’ next coach needs to be chosen carefully

Minnesota Whitecaps

Forwards: 7 | Defenders: 2 | Goalies: 2 | Total: 11

Defender: Amanda Boulier, Lisa Martinson
Forward: Allie Thunstrom, Jonna Curtis, Nicole Schammel, Brooke White-Lancette, Haylea Schmid, Meghan Lorence, Audra Richards
Goaltender: Amanda Leveille, Allie Morse
Coach: Ronda Englehart, Jack Brodt
General Manager: Jack Brodt

Thus far, the Whitecaps scored the biggest move of the offseason by signing Richards away from the Riveters. She was an All-Star in her rookie season last year and should help the Whitecaps replace some of the scoring that they are losing with Kendall Coyne-Schofield out of the picture. Rookie forward Nicole Schammel will also be counted on to be a new scoring threat.

On paper, the Whitecaps already look formidable due to the number of players who are returning from last year’s Isobel Cup-winning club. They definitely have work to do on rebuilding their blue line, but the group of forwards that Jack Brodt has signed definitely look promising.