The SDHL's European Draft Hopefuls

Plenty of European talent from the SDHL is looking for a place in the PWHL.

The SDHL's European Draft Hopefuls
Photo by Christian Lue / Unsplash

The PWHL Draft List was released last month and it features plenty of European talent. More than a few of those players spent the last season plying their trade in arguably the continent's best league: Sweden's SDHL. Here's a team-by-team breakdown of the Europeans hoping to hear their name called on draft day.

AIK (relegated at the end of the 2023-2024 season)


Iveta Klimášová, Slovakia

Klimášová, 26, is already a familiar name to North American fans. Along with defender Lenka Čurmová, she became one of the first two Slovakian players to join the then-NWHL with the Buffalo Beauts. Klimášová is as strong as they come and has proven she can put up points at the pro level both in North America and overseas.


Blanka Škodová, Czechia

It was a rough season for everyone at AIK, but Škodová did what she could in net while facing 688 shots in 17 games, finishing with an .897 save percentage. She'll be a solid backup who can take the starter's crease when needed.

Brynäs IF


Anna Meixner, Austria

Meixner was recently named as one of the IIHF's Top Six European Players headed into the draft. She is ranked fourth in all-time scoring for Team Austria with 60 points (32 goals, 28 assists).

Noemi Neubauerová, Czechia

Affectionately known as 'Nemo,' Neubauerová is a versatile two-way forward with a physical edge to her game. She's earned two bronze medals for Czechia and is coming off a 13-goal season in the SDHL.

Noemi Neubauerová at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. PHOTO: Czech Olympics


Sini Karjalainen, Finland

Hailing from Posio up near the Arctic Circle, Karjalainen started representing Finland as a U18 in 2014, and has continued ever since. She spent her NCAA career at the University of Vermont.

Maja Nylén Persson, Sweden

It's hard to believe Nylén Persson is only 23 years old. She's represented Sweden at the senior level since 2016 and worn an 'A' for the Damkronorna since 2021. She's a gifted playmaker and a proven asset; if teams are smart she'll go high in the Draft.


Klára Peslarová, Czechia

Peslarová is the highest-touted goaltender of any nationality coming into this draft. After missing most of the 2022-2023 season with a torn ACL, she roared back into action for both Brynäs and Team Czechia, reclaiming her place as the Czech starter. She set a new ice time record at the 2024 World Championships by playing every single minute of all seven games, and finished the tournament with a very respectable .926 save percentage.

Peslarová in net for Czechia at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. PHOTO:

Linköping HC


Sara Hjalmarsson, Sweden

Hjalmarsson, 26, returned to her native Sweden in 2023 after a successful NCAA tenure with Providence College. She finished second-highest in team scoring this season at Linköping with 41 points (18 goals, 23 assists) in 36 games. Internationally she's represented Sweden at two Olympics and five World Championships.


Jessica Adolfsson, Sweden

In 2022 Adolfsson became the first woman's player to represent the Penn State University program at the Olympics.

Josephine Asperup, Denmark

The veteran defender, 31, looks to become the PWHL's first Danish player. She could be a solid late-round pickup.



Noora Tulus, Finland

Tulus is one of the biggest names in this year's draft. She's fast, deadly, and only getting better with age. After leaving her native Finland for Luleå in the then-Riksserien, she became an integral part of the Norbotten dynasty that's won seven of the past eight SDHL titles. She was the league's top scorer this season with 61 points (22 goals, 39 assists).

On the international stage, Tulus is a two-time Olympic bronze medalist with the Naisleijonat and wore an "A" at this year's World Championships.


Anna Kjellbin, Sweden

Kjellbin is a solid veteran presence who will bring calm and experience to any team. She brings over a decade of pro experience and a deft playmaking touch.

Ronja Savolainen, Finland

Savolainen is a big physical player who should go very high in the draft. At 5'10 she's not as fast as her smaller counterparts, but her skill is more than enough to compensate for it. Like her longtime teammate Tulus, she knows what it means to build a dynasty and consistently win at the highest level.

Savolainen's got a great reach and puts it to use disrupting players all over the ice. Opponents on the smaller North American rinks will have a hell of a time getting around her.

Daniela Pejšová, Czechia

That Pejšová spent time on Luleå's top defensive pairing with Jenni Hiirikoski at just 21 years old speaks volumes about her ability. Look for her to only get better as her development continues.



Mathea Fischer, Norway

Fischer recently led Norway to history: the team hasn't been in the top division of the World Championships since 1997, but with Fischer at their helm they ended their 27-year drought and achieved promotion.

Michelle Löwenhielm, Sweden

Connecticut Whale fans will know the Swedish forward and former NWHL All-Star. Löwenhielm is a two-time Olympian with great playmaking and valuable experience across North America and Europe. She can play all over the lineup, including the blue line, which makes her a versatile and valuable player.


Lotti Odnoga, Hungary

Odnoga, 26, is a two-time winner of the Hungarian Ice Hockey Association's Female Defender of the Year award, taking the title in the 2020-2021 season and again this year.

She captained Hungary to promotion and a silver medal at this year's Division I World Championships.