The Boston Pride have pulled off the most daring trade in the history of the National Women’s Hockey League. In an unprecedented move, the team has agreed to send their 2020 1st Round Draft Pick (6th Overall), 2021 1st Round Draft Pick and 2021 2nd Round Draft Pick to the newly announced expansion team in Toronto in exchange for the #1 Overall Selection in the 2020 NWHL Draft and Toronto’s 2020 5th Round Draft Pick (29th Overall). While their target is not clear at the moment, there is obviously something afoot. General Manager Karilyn Pilch would not make such an aggressive move unless she had someone very specific in mind. As dominant as the team was this past season, Pilch and coach Paul Mara are clearly not content with simply staying the course. While sacrificing as much future draft capital as the team now has may eventually come back to bite them, this is a bold win-now move designed to establish the Boston Pride as the team to beat for at least the next half decade.
Who could the team be targeting? The first choice to jump to would probably be Boston University captain Sammy Davis, particularly giving Pilch’s personal ties to the BU team. However, Davis IS on the periphery of the national program for the U.S., and may prefer to play with the majority of players in the U.S. program instead. But it would need to be a big enough name that the Pride would be willing to move this much to go up and select them, and they would need to be sure that the player would be taken by one of the other 5 teams before their pick. That leaves a few interesting options. One would be Clarkson’s Michaela Pejzlova. The Czech native already has an extensive international resume, playing in the past three World Championships with her team. She had a bit of a down season this year (or what qualifies as one for her), but she tallied 64 goals and 102 assists for 166 points in 148 games for the Golden Knights over the past four years. It would be quite the coup for the Pride to convince her to come aboard, and it makes sense that they would want to jump over Buffalo or Toronto to ensure they can snag her.
Another interesting option could be Ohio State defender Jincy Dunne. Dunne, like Davis, is on the periphery of the U.S. national program, but hasn’t suited up in the stars and stripes since the U-18 World Championships in 2014-15. After redshirting her freshman season with the Buckeyes, she wore a letter for the final four years of her career, carrying the “C” in her final two. Clearly, she is a huge character player, something indicated to me to be essential to joining the Pride by general manager Karilyn Pilch earlier this year. She’s a smooth skater, and a very cerebral player on the back end, and would complement the current defensive corps quite well in Boston. Dunne finished her 147 game collegiate career with 17 goals and 82 assists for 99 points.
I could also see them wanting to make sure Connecticut can’t get their hands on Briana Colangelo. This would be the case if Dunne, Pejzlova, and Davis all won’t sign, making Colangelo one of the best offensive talents remaining. The Whitby, Ontario native spent the past four years at the University of Connecticut, finishing with 34 goals and 68 assists for 102 points in 148 games for the Huskies, and wore the “C” this past season. Either Toronto, Buffalo, or Connecticut would love to get their hands on her, and if the Pride are sure that she is the slam-dunk best player in the draft, this would certainly be the way to show it.
Finally, the most outside the box option would be baffling at some level but still possibly justifiable. Given the success of several Division III players in the NWHL, it is not unreasonable to assume that at least one will be selected this week. Norwich’s Amanda Conway might be the most purely talented scorer in this draft class, and Norwich has a national title in it’s pocket during her career there. The Methuen, Massachusetts native played a grand total of 111 games in her college career. She SCORED 116 goals in that time-frame. No, that is not a typo. She scored at over a goal-per-game pace over her four-year collegiate career. In her four seasons with the Cadets, she scored 20, 34, 30, and 32 goals respectively, and her career high in points was 59, which she hit twice. She ended with 72 career assists, meaning she graduated with 188 career points in 111 career games. That’s a higher points per game pace than Michaela Pejzlova. While I personally would not advocate for her selection at #1 Overall, I can envision a scenario where the Pride feel she is the best bet for them to be successful moving forward.
As for Toronto, while giving up the #1 Overall Pick may not be ideal as an expansion franchise, it may indicate that newly named President Digit Murphy did not feel as if the player they would’ve taken (and likely who is being targeted by Boston) would sign with the team. This provides Toronto an opportunity to recoup some value for the pick rather than using it on a different player they could get later on in the draft. It is unclear if this is the extent of the team’s moves, as there may be other trades in the works. Regardless, Murphy just turned two assets into three. That’s some magic that could prove extremely prescient moving forward for the league’s youngest franchise.
|Boston Trades:||to Toronto in Exchange For:|
|2020 1st Round Draft Pick (6th Overall)||2020 1st Round Draft Pick (1st Overall)|
|2021 1st Round Draft Pick||2020 5th Round Draft Pick (29th Overall)|
|2021 2nd Round Draft Pick|
Who won the trade? Be sure to let us know in the comments!
Stay tuned to Pride Diehards (@PrideDiehards on Twitter) for any additional signings and news out of our favorite women’s professional hockey team!
Featured Image courtesy of Michelle Jay (@Michelle_Jay3)
By: Spencer Fascetta | Follow me on Twitter @PuckNerdHockey