Predicting Needs for PWHL New York in the 2024 Draft

With eleven returning players and needs at every position, PWHL New York GM Pascal Daoust and incoming head coach Greg Fargo will have their work cut out for them.

Predicting Needs for PWHL New York in the 2024 Draft
PWHL New York players celebrate a goal. Photo via PWHL.

After an impressive showing in the preseason, PWHL New York went down in history with a shutout of PWHL Toronto in the league’s first-ever game. New York had an early season win streak, and then lost momentum and never seemed to get back on the right track. Having three home arenas in three different states likely didn’t help matters. They finished the season at the bottom of the standings.

New York enters the second PWHL draft with the first overall pick and a lot of work to do. There is no position that couldn’t use some bolstering, and New York is tied for the league lead with eleven players signed to contracts in the 2024-25 season. General manager Pascal Daoust and incoming head coach Greg Fargo will have their work cut out for them.


Last year, New York drafted the 2023 PHF Goaltender of the Year in Corinne Schroeder with their sixth pick. That decision proved wise, as Schroeder played in 15 games and was at or near the top of the goaltender leaderboard for much of the season, in categories that didn’t include wins. At the close of the year she finished second among qualified goaltenders in save percentage, denying 93.0% of the shots she faced.

New York selected Abbey Levy with their 11th pick last year. She played in eight games and finished second to last in the league in save percentage and goals against average. Meanwhile, Lindsey Post, New York’s third goaltender, played in New York’s final two games and had, in that limited sample size, numbers to rival Schroeder’s.

Levy did not put up the kinds of numbers a PWHL team needs to see from their backup goaltender, even for a rookie. As New York surely knows, there isn’t much of a margin for error in this league. And while Post earned a win in her sole start, it doesn’t seem that she has the confidence of the team. I wouldn’t be surprised to see either or both of these goaltenders invited to the New York training camp in the fall to compete for a spot on the team, but I do expect New York to take a swing at one of the other qualified goaltenders available in this year’s draft.

New York has holes to fill up front and on the blue line, so I can’t predict when their draft team will want to pick a goalie. Schroeder served well as a starter, so they may see this as a less dire positional need. 

Two of the most coveted goalies in the draft are Klára Peslarová of the Czech national team and Gwyneth Philips of Northeastern, who joined Team USA at the World Championships for the first time this year. If New York wants to have a chance at either of them, they’ll need to pick their moment in the first half of the draft.

However, another option is Kayle Osborne, who is coming out of Colgate. PWHL New York’s new head coach, Greg Fargo, is also coming out of Colgate, and will have the best insight as to whether Osborne is ready for a backup or 1B role on a professional team. With not many teams in the league needing an upgrade at goaltender this season, New York might be able to take Osborne later in the draft and reserve their earlier picks for skaters.


New York has three defenders entering the second year of three-year contracts and one finishing off a two-year contract. That ties with Minnesota for the most returning blueliners in the league, with a lot less upside than the reigning champions.

Of New York’s returnees, Ella Shelton finished with 21 points, top five in league scoring and first among defenders. Jaime Bourbonnais had 13 points and a -12 on the season, while Brooke Hobson had five points. Captain Micah Zandee-Hart, a defensive defender, recorded three points in 19 games while recording a team-worst -18.

Outside of those four players, Olivia Zafuto, Taylor Baker, and Johanna Fällman put up decent performances for the team, perhaps even better than some of the players with signed contracts. Whether they've done enough in the eyes of the front office to earn invites next fall will depend on the personnel the team acquires in the draft. Zafuto may have an edge as she attended Colgate and played under New York’s incoming head coach.

A lot went wrong in New York, and the defense corps was not the main issue. But it definitely was an issue.

The general expectation is that New York will select a forward with the first overall pick, but there are a number of excellent defenders to pick from in the second or third round. Claire Thompson, who was a reserve player for New York and was unable to take to the ice due to visa constraints, may be available at the top of the second round, and the team is already high on her. 

Allyson Simpson and Sydney Bard are two high-level defenders who have declared for the draft right out of Colgate and would already be familiar with Greg Fargo’s expectations and system. Mae Batherson is another ECAC defender who could help move the puck up the ice.

New York could also select one of several European defenders who are expected to go high in the draft. Ronja Savolainen is a star player on Finland’s national team who plays the kind of physical game New York seemed to be built for in year one. Maja Nylén Persson is one of the top players on Sweden’s national team and is the kind of smart, reliable defender New York’s top four was structured around. In a later round, New York may be the team to snap up All-Canadian Emma Bergesen, who plays for Norway’s national team.

New York needs to spend at least one of their early picks on a defender. With four players already on contract, they could afford to take only one top-pairing D from the draft and wait until later rounds to fill out their pool, but ideally, they should hope to select two capable and reliable defenders before the fifth or sixth round.


The good news for New York is that all four of their top scorers this past season are returning, and all three of their forwards on three-year contracts are among those four. Alex Carpenter, Abby Roque, and Jessie Eldridge are locked up for two years, and Jade Downie-Landry is signed for the 2024-25 season.

The bad news is that of the three more forwards signed for next season, and none of them hit double digits in points. French national team star Chloé Aurard produced eight points in 21 games, which is respectable for a rookie on the second-lowest-scoring team in the league. 2020 Patty Kazmaier Award winner Élizabeth Giguère earned four points in 24 games, stunning for someone who was a point-per-game player in the PHF last season. Olympic gold medalist Jill Saulnier recorded only two points in 18 games after joining the team late due to injury.

The good news again is that these are good players who didn’t all suddenly forget how to play hockey. A new coach might be just what they need to return to their former glory.

With seven forwards signed, New York may not be looking to bring back any of their other forwards this year, as they will hope to take enough talent from the draft to fill out the remaining slots. But players like Emma Woods, Savannah Norcross, and Madison Packer deserve another look in a better situation than this year’s New York team provided.

The first overall pick in this draft seems to have been written in the stars. Canadian national team star Sarah Fillier is graduating from Princeton University in New Jersey with an Olympic gold medal, three World Championship gold medals, and a Worlds MVP award to her name. She plays center and has recently spent some time on the wing, and her skating, hockey IQ, and shot all grade out to a top-line player in the PWHL.

However, the first overall pick belongs to New York, and New York just hired the head coach of Danielle Serdachny’s college team. Widely regarded as a top player in this year’s draft, Serdachny has a scorer’s touch, and if there’s something New York needs it’s more of that. A big-bodied center, it would be easy to imagine her playing beside Abby Roque and putting the league on alert.

Overall, New York has more need at wing than at center, and outside of the first round they’ll have a lot of options. It would be a coup to take Amanda Kessel at the top of the second and unite her with Team USA linemate Alex Carpenter. The pair have both been members of the senior national team for over a decade and could pack the same kind of punch and Marie-Philip Poulin and Laura Stacey have done for Montreal. New York may also be in the right spot to select the reigning Patty Kazmaier Award winner in Cornell’s Izzy Daniel, or proven PWHL talent Abby Boreen.

Colgate alumnae Dara Grieg, Noemi Neubauerová, Darcie Lappan, Kaitlyn O’Donohoe might have an edge thanks to their coach moving up with them. Pascal Daoust may also have an eye on All-Canadian First Teamers Lillian George and Katie Chomiak, who were both among the top ten in USports scoring this year, or Concordia University graduates Emmy Fecteau or Rosalie Bégin-Cyr.

New York has a big returning group and some important choices if they want their second season to look different than their first. I expect them to make smart and sneaky picks from the college ranks due to the drafting team they’ve assembled. But it may take established pro talent from the European pool to turn New York into a true contending team.