Pride Draft Finish Strong, Take 3 More Hockey East Stars and a National Champion

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The Boston Pride finished out the 2020 NWHL draft with four additional selections on Wednesday, taking three more Hockey East stars and an ECAC hidden gem. They 3rd Round pick, UNH’s Taylor Wenczkowski, brings a deadly scoring touch. GM Karilyn Pilch indicated that it was the team’s belief that she had one of the best shots in college hockey, but they loved the edge that she played with. I have noted my personal bias when it comes to Wenczkowski, but I think this is a fantastic pick. She does in fact have a wicked shot, though she can rely on it a little too much sometimes. She’s at her best when she has someone who can feed her the puck in open space, particularly on the powerplay. She is the rare player that can score with relative consistency from above the circles, but her successes there cause her to default to significantly more outside shots than is ideal. I think in the right environment, that can be curbed. As for the edge she plays with, she wracked up the penalty minutes this year, mostly as a result of a major/misconduct incident against Maine. She can red mist at times when frustrated, which can be both a good and a bad thing. Despite the number of penalty minutes she has to her credit, she has been a net positive penalty differential player in her career at UNH, so she isn’t harming the team more than helping it by using her speed and tenacity to put her squad on the powerplay. She did miss her entire sophomore season with concussion issues, but has not had a significant relapse in that area since that time. This is a very heady pick from Pilch and company – Pilch is banking on her personal relationship with Wenczkowski and the insulation of familiar faces to capitalize on the enigmatic sniper’s talents.

At 24th Overall, the team ventured outside Hockey East for the first and only time all draft, selecting Clarkson defender Taylor Turnquist. This is a bit of a coup for the team, given that Turnquist attended school in New York and is a Minnesota native. She was a significant part of multiple National Championship teams with the Golden Knights, and is a heady, intelligent, smooth defender. She isn’t going to generate a ton of offense, but she’s so good defensively that it doesn’t really matter. She also was pressed into action as a 2nd line winger this year due to the litany of Clarkson injuries, so her skating ability and hockey IQ are clearly her two most useful attributes. This is a really good pick to help stabilize a defensive corps that doesn’t have much depth outside of its Top 6. Oh, and having a multi-gold medal winning Olympic Hall of Famer announce your selection is pretty cool too.

The team then had the final two picks of the draft. With the 29th selection, acquired as a part of the trade with Toronto that netted them Sammy Davis, they went back to the well at UNH and selected Wenczkowski’s linemate in Meghara McManus. McManus had a career year, tallying 17 goals and 27 points to lead the Wildcats in both categories. She does the majority of her damage from in tight as a gritty, hard-nosed net-front presence, and has a high conversion rate as a result. She is relentless on the puck, and fearless (borderline reckless) in blocking shots, leading Karilyn Pilch to liken her to both Lexie Laing and league co-MVP and team captain Jillian Dempsey in terms of her two-way play. McManus is also a pain to play against, drawing a team leading 65 penalties over the past 2 years at UNH, while taking only 20 of her own. She loves getting under her opponent’s skin, and is always talking. She will fit in well in a middle six role moving forward, giving the team some flexibility on both special teams units. Real, heady pick this late in the draft. And oh hey, shoutout to Pride Diehards co-host Sarah Griffin with the announcement. I know BOTH of these people!!

The team’s final selection was Northeastern defender and captain Paige Capistran. Pilch told me that she had multiple coaches call her to exclaim that she NEEDED to select Paige because of the type of person she is. They believe Capistran has unlimited potential because of her work ethic and ethos – she’s just an outstanding person. On the ice, she’s an elite shutdown defender with high end leadership abilities. She is mobile, physical, and doesn’t allow much to happen when she’s on the ice. I wouldn’t expect gaudy offensive numbers from her, but the team really doesn’t need that from her to be successful. Love this pick. And having a living legend in Florence Schelling announce your selection has got to be a good ego-boost.

Need more coverage and analysis from the 2020 NWHL Draft? I broke down all 30 picks here. Be sure to stay tuned for continued Pride coverage at Pride Diehards!

 

By: Spencer Fascetta | Follow me on Twitter @PuckNerdHockey

PuckNerd

Find me on Twitter @PuckNerdHockey for all of your women's hockey content!

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