With July just around the corner, it’s time for another PHF Roster Recap brought to you by The Ice Garden. We have now eclipsed 50 signings and have seen an influx of European players signing deals to play in the PHF.
All remains quiet for the defending champs. It’s worth noting that TIG’s Dan Rice has reported that Allie Thunstrom will be trading in her Whitecaps gear for black and gold and Boston is connected to a few other big-name free agents, including Elizabeth Giguere.
F: Mikyla Grant-Mentis, Courtney Maud, Jenna Suokko, Emma Nuutinen, Cassidy MacPherson, Claudia Kepler (2 yrs), Autumn MacDougall, Anjelica Diffendal, Madi Nichols
D: Dominique Kremer (2 yrs), Jess Healey (2 yrs), Allison Attea, Antonia Matzka
G: Lovisa Berndtsson, Kassidy Sauvé
The Beauts have been busy.
Buffalo has the most signings so far and is one of just two teams with two goalies under contract. What stands out the most to me about the Beauts is that this team has added two first-line caliber forwards in Grant-Mentis and Nuutinen in addition to bringing back its best forward from last season in MacDougall. The Beauts will have an imposing top line for the first time in quite some time in 2022-23. With that said, we’re still waiting to see if Kennedy Ganser and Cassidy Vinkle will return.
The blue line looks solid but could likely use another top-four talent to compliment Kremer and Healey. Of course, the biggest story since our last check-in is the addition of Sauvé.
CJ has signed with the Six and stepping into her role is Sauvé — a goalie who had superior numbers while playing for superior teams in the NCAA. On paper, you can definitely make a case that this is an upgrade in the crease but there’s also no denying that Buffalo lost a lot more than a good goalie by letting CJ test free agency. She was an integral part of the team’s identity and popular both in the locker room and in the stands.
F: Kennedy Marchment (2 yrs), Taylor Girard (2 yrs), Emma Vlasic, Amanda Conway, Caitrin Lonergan, Alyssa Wohlfeiler, Lenka Serdar, Justine Reyes
D: Allie Munroe (2 yrs), Tori Howran, Hannah Bates
G: Abbie Ives
The Whale now have eight forwards under contract. The addition of Czech national team forward Serdar gives this team great depth down the middle and adds a new face to the mix who is comfortable playing in a system that prioritizes possession. That’s big. Also, don’t overlook the signing of Justine Reyes. She was a productive forward in the SDHL last year and dominated playing pro in Germany before that.
I don’t think the Whale are done making splashy signings but the big question I have for this team is who will share the crease with Ives. Well, that and we all want to know if Shannon Turner is coming back.
F: Madison Packer (2 yrs), Kendall Cornine, Amanda Pelkey, Sarah Bujold, Reka Dabasi, Kelly Babstock
D: Ebba Berglund, Taylor Marchin, Minttu Tuominen
G: Eveliina Mäkinen
Holy Finns! Mäkinen was an absolutely huge signing for the Rivs. She has the potential to be a workhorse starter given her resume. It’s worth noting that Brooke Wolejko and Sonjia Shelly are playing with Team USA’s ball hockey team at the moment. Wolejko has the goods to be a starter in the PHF, but free agency is exceptionally tough on goalies. There are only so many landing spots.
Tuominen is another huge addition. She’s a top-pair defender at this level and can play in every situation. She’s a player that Venla Hovi and Ivo Mocek can build a blue line around.
F: Sydney Brodt, Ashleigh Brykaliuk (2 yrs), Jonna Curtis, Denisa Křížová
D: Sidney Morin (2 yrs), Sydney Baldwin (2 yrs), Patti Marshall, Olivia Knowles
Returning to the blue line is Marshall, who was one of the best newcomers among defenders last season. Joining her on the back end is Olivia Knowles, who should fit more than comfortably into a role in the top two pairs of a blue line that already looks dramatically different than it did in the 2021-22 season.
For the Whitecaps, the Křížová signing definitely takes some of the sting out of losing Thunstrom in free agency to Boston. The Czech winger last played in the PHF/NWHL with the Boston Pride and has been tearing it up in the SDHL and with Czechia’s national team since the last time she played pro in North America.
My big question for the Whitecaps right now is how many players from last year’s team will be back? We know Amanda Leveille has re-signed — per a report by Dan Rice — but will there be any other re-signings announced? It will also be interesting to see what kind of depth this team has after making some big, splashy signings like Brodt, Morin, and Křížová.
F: Shiann Darkangelo, Brittany Howard, Lexi Templeman, Emma Woods
D: Taylor Davison, Taylor Woods, Saroya Tinker
G: Elaine Chuli, Carly Jackson
The Six have been relatively quiet since our last Roster Recap with the exception of making the Jackson signing official and bringing back standout shutdown defender Saroya Tinker.
The idea of Tinker continuing to develop with new head coach and Hockey Hall of Famer Geraldine Heaney is something that Six fans should be buzzing about. That is also why it will be interesting to see if the rest of last year’s blue line is also brought back or if Toronto is looking for another playmaker to generate more offense from the blue line. Stephanie Sucharda, Cristine Chao, and Lindsay Eastwood are all exceptional players who belong in this league.
It feels like there is another big signing or two (or more) coming from Toronto but it’s important to note that, for the moment, they have the best goaltending in the league. Chuli and Jackson are an outstanding duo. Don’t underestimate how valuable it is to have two goalies who have proven they can be starters at this level on the same roster.