Predicting Needs for PWHL Montréal at the 2024 Draft

Montréal enters the draft on June 10 with nine players signed for the 2024-25 season and a clear picture of what they need to take away with their seven picks.

Predicting Needs for PWHL Montréal at the 2024 Draft
PWHL Montreal players celebrate. Photo via PWHL.

PWHL Montréal finished the inaugural PWHL season ranked second in the league. They finished the inaugural PWHL postseason with a shocking three-game loss to third seed PWHL Boston. The soon-to-be-named Montréal team will begin the league’s second year with the fifth pick, a chip on their collective shoulder, and eyes on the prize.

Montréal enters the draft on June 10 with nine players signed for the 2024-25 season and a clear picture of what they need to take away with their seven picks.


Starting from the net, Montréal had one of the most reliable duos in the league this past year. While several teams loaded up one goaltender with heavy workloads, PWHL Montréal allowed Elaine Chuli to spell starter Ann-Renée Desbiens in a third of the games. Chuli backstopped the team to wins in all but two of those games, with one loss coming in the shootout. Perhaps only Minnesota had a more successful two-tender deployment. With Team Canada starter Desbiens signed for two more seasons, and reports indicating a positive and productive relationship among Montréal’s goaltenders this season, they would be remiss not to try to keep Chuli.

However, there’s always room for competition in a league as packed with talent as the PWHL. Last year, Chuli was one of five goaltenders Montréal brought to training camp, including Desbiens, who had already been signed. The other three, including Marlène Boissonnault, who was Montréal’s choice for a reserve this year, were invited from the pool of undrafted goalies. With 26 goaltenders declaring for the draft this year, Montréal could wish to deploy a similar strategy, getting eyes on all their options before making a selection. 

With Desbiens on lock and the depth of skater talent available in the 2024 draft, it would be a surprise to see PWHL Montréal take a goaltender in the draft. I predict that they’ll aim to keep Chuli and select their third goaltender from the legion of quality players who will not be picked in the draft.


In last year’s draft, defensive depth was considered the weakest area of the player pool. This year, big names from the NCAA and Europe will take or challenge for a number of roster spots. 

In 2023, Montréal took Canadian national team defender Erin Ambrose in the first round, and the pick unsurprisingly paid off. Ambrose skated huge minutes for the team and finished second in the league for scoring from the blue line. She’s locked in for another two years, which is great for Montréal.

Montréal’s second pick on defense last year was Dominika Lásková, who is signed for the 2024-25 season. She was scoreless in seven games, before a season-ending injury, but was a reliable presence on a pair with her former Toronto Six teammate Kati Tabin, who is also returning for another year. Their usage next season will depend on the quality of defender Montréal takes in the draft, but both players have solid upside.

Two players who are not signed for next year, but would provide strong competition for roster spots, are Mariah Keopple and Amanda Boulier. Keopple spent most of the season on Ambrose’s left side, allowing Ambrose to focus on offense. For a rookie in the league, she impressed in top-pair minutes while growing throughout the season. She then played with Boulier after the latter was traded from Ottawa. Boulier was Ottawa’s leader in assists at the time of the trade, and she made an impact in Montréal with her north-south play and tenacity.

Montréal has quality defenders signed and in their system, and showed good insight in signing Keopple out of training camp last year. Like other teams, they’ll want to improve their defensive depth in ways that complement the players they already have. If Claire Thompson, who has paired with Ambrose on Team Canada, were to fall to the fifth pick, it could be a massive win for Montréal’s hot-and-cold power play.

A reliable, defensively-minded player like Megan Carter could pair well with the offensive right side of the current lineup. Daniela Pejšová, who has partnered with Lásková on Czechia’s top pairing, could also be a smart pick on a team that has not been afraid to draft young Europeans.

I expect Montréal to take at least one blue-chip defender in the top two rounds, but I also expect them to take someone in a late round who we’ll all say at the end of the year was a great pick. Someone like Anna Kjellbin, who captained Sweden at this year’s World Championship, or University of Minnesota graduate Madeline Wethington, could be that pick.


PWHL Montréal used two of their pre-draft signings last year to secure two of the top forwards in the world. Marie-Philip Poulin and Laura Stacey have been stars for the team this year, together and apart, each utilizing their unique skillsets to wreak havoc on opposing teams. They each made the other players around them better, but additions to the roster could better support them and raise the team’s level as a whole.

Forwards Kristin O’Neill and Maureen Murphy are the other forwards signed for another two years. Murphy had a great showing offensively in her first professional season, while O’Neill was solid at the center of the second line. They are joined by Kennedy Marchment, the 2022 PHF MVP, who played only nine games this year before suffering a season-ending injury.

Not returning next season will be the 2021 World Championship MVP, Mélodie Daoust, who announced her retirement this week. Coming in as a reserve this season, Daoust scored nearly a point per game — a pace that fans had hoped she might replicate in a full-season role next year.

It would be a surprise to see the PHF’s all-time leading scorer Jillian Dempsey in Montréal colors again. Stranger things have happened than the Boston native playing in Canada this season, but not many.

With only five forwards signed, Montréal has a lot of room to work with. Players who made a positive impact and were trusted by the coaching staff could have a good chance to return. At the top of that list are players like rookie Claire Dalton or midseason pickup Mikyla Grant-Mentis. Veteran Ann-Sophie Bettez has said that she intends to continue playing professionally, and I expect to see her and rookie Gabrielle David at Montréal’s camp in the fall. Montréal also still owns the rights to the player who was the final pick of the 2023 draft, Swedish national team forward Lina Ljungblom, who we can expect to see in camp this year as the relationship between the PWHL and European leagues has been significantly clarified. Outside of that group, there will likely be a lot of turnover — as there will be on other teams. Training camps will be packed full of talent.

With the players that they already have in place, Montréal will be looking for players who can play alongside their stars. They will also be looking for left wingers in particular, and that position is not the strongest in this draft, though the arrival of Grant-Mentis makes the search less desperate than it otherwise might have been. Still, considering their weakness at the position, Montréal will want to use one of their top picks on Hannah Bilka or Jennifer Gardiner. Coming from Team USA, Bilka could slot into the spot left by Tereza Vanišová in the Boulier trade, creating chaos alongside Poulin. Meanwhile, Gardiner played for Team Canada at the Rivalry Series in November and could slot in on a Canada-heavy forward group.

Montréal could also look at Britta Curl, a very physical forward who has played with Team USA, and Klára Hymlárová, who impressed for Czechia at this year’s World Championship. Both can play center and wing at a high level.

The team will also be looking for players to provide depth scoring and complement their existing lines and units. With later picks, they might take someone like Elle Hartje. She’s the kind of offensively creative player that Montréal seems to like, and could find some chemistry with her Yale teammate Dalton. Michelle Löwenhielm might be a camp invite player, but she played with Marchment in the SDHL and has years of experience playing at the top international level. Someone like Minnesota-Duluth graduate and Djurgardens leading scorer Anneke Linser could bring some of the grit that Montréal has been missing.

Montréal has only had one European among their forward group thus far, but coach Kori Cheverie has seen the overseas talent available from the Team Canada bench. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team take some of the elite international players available. Noora Tulus plays the kind of fast and tricky game that could complement Marchment. Montréal may also like the reliability of two-way center Sara Hjalmarsson, who captained her SDHL team as a rookie. In a later round, Mathea Fischer, who captains Norway's national team, could be a sneaky pick.

Last year, Montréal used their last pick to reserve the rights for a player they already knew would not be able to play for them in year one, and that player was named MVP of the SDHL this season. Knowing that many talented players will not play this year, it would be smart to try the same thing again with a player you expect will develop into a PWHL player down the line. Someone like Emmy Fecteau or Ida Kuoppala could be that pick.