Predicting Needs for PWHL Toronto at the 2024 Draft

With 11 returning players who represent a strong foundation for the team, Toronto has a clear set of needs and should have the confidence to take risks for the sake of reward.

Predicting Needs for PWHL Toronto at the 2024 Draft
Hannah Miller accepts high-fives after scoring. Photo via Alex D’Addese/PWHL.

From worst to first: PWHL Toronto experienced shocking lows and thrilling highs during an inaugural season that was highlighted by setting multiple world records in attendance. Unfortunately, a game five loss to the team they chose to face in the first round of the playoffs prevented them from a Cinderella story season.

Entering the second PWHL draft with the sixth pick may sting for a team that went out in the first round, but having eleven returning players who represent a strong foundation for the team should take some of that sting away. Toronto has a clear set of needs and the confidence to take risks for the sake of reward.


Last year, Toronto selected Kristen Campbell in the third round. Their confidence in the Team Canada goaltender was such that they continued to play her even when she was 1-4 with a .856 save percentage. Their faith paid off when she went on to win 11 straight games. Campbell finished the season with 16 wins and a sub-2 goals against average. She played in 22 games.

Erica Howe was Toronto’s backup goaltender, and she played in three games. While her numbers were fine and she may have been able to handle more time, she doesn’t seem to have been afforded the same confidence as Kristen Campbell. Either the PWHL Toronto staff are comfortable playing Campbell in nearly every game, and trust Howe to come in cold if Campbell is hurt, or they’ll be in the market for a goaltender this season.

Considering the trust the team has in Campbell and the fact that she rose to the occasion, Toronto may not feel the need to spend a high draft pick on the position. However, their roster of skaters is strong enough that they could afford to play spoiler and take an elite talent that other teams may need more. Considering Toronto’s dedication last year to drafting North American players with international experience, they may go for Northeastern goaltender Gwyneth Philips, or players who have experience in the Hockey Canada system like Raygan Kirk, Kayle Osborne, or Kendra Woodland.


PWHL Toronto signed Renata Fast prior to the inaugural draft, then took her Team Canada d-partner Jocelyne Larocque with their first pick. Both players are signed for two more seasons and both performed well on the top pair this season. Former Team USA defender Kali Flanagan also lived up to her reputation and Toronto will be happy to have her for another year.

Allie Munroe definitely earned at least a training camp invite for next year, but Toronto is in the enviable position of having three top defenders signed and the chance to fill out the ranks as they see fit.

Continuing the tradition of picking from the ranks of the national teams, should Canadian Claire Thompson be available at the sixth pick Toronto may use their first pick on her. They may also opt to take Finnish star Ronja Savolainen as yet another offensive weapon in their arsenal.

Daniela Pejšová, who plays top pair minutes for Czechia, may also be an option. She’ll be 22 at the start of next season, making the pick something of a risk, but Toronto will have the ability to offer her sheltered minutes while she acclimates to the league, if it proves necessary. And Toronto proved with their selection of Larocque that they consider a player’s output over her age. If other teams pass over Swedish national team captain Anna Kjellbin for fear of drafting a 30-year-old player, Toronto will not be afraid to take her.

PWHL Toronto has the chance to do something very scary here and I won’t be at all surprised if they walk away with more than one of the best defenders in the draft, when they are one of the teams with the least to worry about at that position.


PWHL Toronto has the league’s top scorer in Natalie Spooner signed for one more year, and two of the league’s top ten scorers in Sarah Nurse and Emma Maltai signed for two more years. Everything after that is gravy.

That gravy includes another two years for captain Blayre Turnbull, which looks fine, and one more year each for Victoria Bach and rookies Maggie Connors and Jessie Compher. Those contracts don’t look as great as the others, with no player topping six points, but they’re far from an anchor weighing Toronto down.

The retirement of Brittany Howard is a big loss for Toronto, as the right side wasn’t Toronto’s strongest area. Still, Rebecca Leslie performed well on that side and should have earned at least a training camp invite for next year. Hannah Miller, who finished fourth in team scoring, is someone who Toronto ought to try and sign before free agency begins. 

The strength of Toronto’s forward group gives them space to breathe in the draft, although the chance that Natalie Spooner’s injury could linger into next season turns their need for right wingers into a demand.

If Toronto wanted to swing for the fences, and she fell to the sixth pick, they could select right winger Amanda Kessel. The Team USA star is a scorer, and she could fill in for Spooner and then remain in Toronto’s top six. While I don’t think it’s likely to play out this way, this pick could spell game over for the rest of the PWHL.

Toronto could also pick their moment and take the 2024 Patty Kazmaier Award winner Izzy Daniel, despite her lack of national team experience, or proven pro Abby Boreen. Right wing is one of the weaker positions in this draft, so Toronto may have to use a higher pick than they’d like, but they are somewhat backed into a corner.

That being said, Toronto has had some success at shunting centers and left wingers to the right, so they may simply opt for their favorite forwards who they believe could be flexible. Julia Gosling could be that player. As a Team Canada forward who chose to declare for the draft rather than use her final year of NCAA eligibility, it’s clear that she’s ready to play at the pro level. I could also see Toronto opting for Gabby Rosenthal in a later round: a player with experience playing for Team USA in the Rivalry series who may fall in the draft after taking a year off from playing.

The other option is to draft a center and have one of your other centers play wing. Noora Tulus is a center worth moving the lines for. She is the top-line center for Team Finland, has won six SDHL championships in the last seven years, and led that league in scoring this year. Tulus is undoubtedly one of the biggest offensive threats in the draft, and is another player that other teams should pray Toronto doesn’t get the chance to draft.

There are other big names in this draft, and it wouldn’t shock me if Toronto walks away with more of them than seems fair. They didn’t miss much last year. Other teams should hope they miss this year.