(A WAY Too Early) 2021 NWHL Draft Preview

***This article has been updated as of 8/3/2020

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the success of this year’s NWHL Draft, not only in its execution, but in its ability to select players with a significantly higher signing potential than in years past. So, I thought I’d build out what next year’s potential draft pool looks like, and analyze it to the best of my ability. A few notes on how this was compiled and what to expect from it moving forward:

  • The database I built contains each player’s numbers from their three collegiate seasons. The majority of the data was scraped from Pick224’s fantastic database. Anything that was missing (i.e. Non-D1 players, Holy Cross’ freshman seasons, and the first two seasons in college for players from St. Anselm, Franklin Pierce, Post, LIU, and Saint Michael’s were pulled directly from the individual college sites for each team.
  • In addition to the raw totals, I calculated Goals Created, Even Strength Goals Created, production per estimated time on ice, and production per game metrics whenever possible to do so
  • All metrics I calculated use the total 5 year period found in Pick224’s data as the “league average/league total” portion of a particular formula
  • I scaled goal creation metrics for USports by .6 and NCAA Division III by .5. I arrived here by using Rob Vollman’s original scaling metrics, then took the proportional difference using Division I as the baseline.
  • I also found each player’s total career goals created, weighting it in order to place more emphasis on a player’s most recent production. Therefore, the formula used was:
    (Junior Season Goals Created) + (2/3)*(Sophomore Season Goals Created) + (1/3)*(Freshman Season Goals Created)
    and I ultimately used this to sort the overall list of players.
  • For additional context (specifically defensively minded defenders who don’t produce a lot) I also factored in a player’s Goals For Percentage Relative to their Team, which gives an idea of how much of an effect they have on transition and offensive generation/defensive prevention as compared to their teammates.
  • I added USports and Division III players who were at least a point-per-game this past season
  • For Goaltenders:
    • I calculated Goals Saved Above Average for every goaltender available
    • I used the same scale factors and seasonal weights as the skaters for individual and career Goals Saved Above Average
    • I took Division III and USports goaltenders who finished the season in the Top 10 in either GAA or SV% in their league.
    • Goalies were then ranked in terms of their weighted Goals Saved Above Average
  • I then took the top 100 players in my opinion in the database and ranked them 1-100
  • I have only included scouting reports for players which I feel I have seen enough tape on to be confident in its accuracy OR have spoken to trusted contacts within the sport who HAVE seen them enough to provide accurate analysis. This means there are significantly more Hockey East players with reports than the other divisions, and most of the DIII players in this list received a report as well.
  • This list is meant to be fluid as the season goes on – I will be making an effort to watch as much hockey as I can throughout the season to try and add to my scouting reports and the overall rankings.
  • I have not factored in a player’s potential sign-ability into the rankings whatsoever. This is based purely on player ability and production.
  • If there are players on the list who do not have scouting reports yet, please feel free to reach out to me if you want to provide them. I’m only one person, so the assistance will always be welcomed. I will be sure to give you credit if you contribute.
  • The wonderful Anne Tokarski has contributed scouting reports for WCHA players on this list. All reports submitted by Anne have been marked as such. If a report does not have an author labelled, I wrote it myself.
  • This is based on personal perception, so there will always be bias. I recognize that. I did my best to mitigate the inherent bias by using primarily data to base this list off of. That being said, it is meant to encourage debate and conversation, so if there is a player I left off this list, or is significantly higher or lower than you (the reader) feel they should be, I welcome the communication. I encourage you to make a spirited, intelligent case for why said player needs to be reexamined.



+Indicates player has played for North American National Team

#Indicates US U18 Alum


^Indicates Canadian U18 Alum

* Indicates International Player





Elizabeth Giguere
Photo Credit: Clarkson Athletics

1) F Elizabeth Giguere, Clarkson (ECAC)+

Hometown: Quebec City, Quebec
Giguere is the reigning Patty Kazmaier winner, and for good reason – she’s coming off of a 37 goal, 29 assist season, and is the leader in career goals created in this draft class. She sits 6th in GC/e60, but four of the five players ahead of her play in the NEWHA. The only one slightly ahead of her in terms of productivity per hour is Watts, ranked second, and it isn’t by much. Giguere gets the top spot here despite the fact that she almost certainly will not be available – she’s likely to be a part of the Canadian National Team alongside former teammate and fellow Patty Kaz winner Loren Gabel, and will likely join her new teammates in the PWHPA.


2) F Darryl Watts, Wisconsin (WCHA)

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
Watts is the first and only player to ever capture the Patty Kazmaier Award as a freshman, tallying an absurd 42 goals and 40 assists at Boston College in her first tour of duty. Her numbers, however, took a considerable dip the following season, to the tune of 22 goals and 26 assists. That’s still above a point per game pace, but the drop was noticeable and strange. She then transferred to Wisconsin, pushed her scoring pace back above 2 points per game, yet was not a Patty Kazmaier Finalist. She might be the most purely skilled player in this class. But there are whispers of behind the scenes drama that has had her basically locked out of Hockey Canada, and helped to foster the disharmonious locker room at BC that resulted in the Eagles’ fall from grace over the past two seasons. She also is not particularly good in her own end, with a negative even strength goals for percentage relative to her team this past year despite her absurd totals, and that number has also gotten worse over her career. Still, if she was willing to sign, it may be a no-brainer for the #1 pick to take her. She is one to watch.

Aerin Frankel
Photo Credit: Jim Pierce

3) G Aerin Frankel, Northeastern (WHEA)+

Hometown: Briarcliff Manor, New York
Frankel is easily one of the best goaltenders the NCAA has seen in quite some time. In this draft class, she’s saved nearly 20 more goals above average than the next best goaltender, including a ridiculous junior season where she saved more goals above average (36.78) than the next highest CAREER total in the class in Corinne Schroeder (30.76). She’s already seen time with the US National Team, so she’s another candidate who will likely be unavailable come draft-day due to her international commitments. It will be interesting to see what she brings in her final collegiate season; was this year an anomaly, or is she really that much better than everyone else?

Skylar Fontaine
Photo Credit: Jim Pierce

4) D Skylar Fontaine, Northeastern (WHEA)

Hometown: East Greenwich, Rhode Island
There is a clear level of separation between Fontaine and the rest of the defenders in this class. She ranks 9th in weighted career goals created in this class and is the only defender in the Top 10. She had 17 goals this past season, and often makes her job look easy. She’s an incredible skater with tremendous instincts who is competent in her own end, but rarely spends any time there. The one criticism is her own zone, where she is passable but can still get exposed, similar to some other high-profile offensive-defenders, but the pros FAR outweigh the cons in this case. Fontaine has never suited up for the United States at any level, but they’d be crazy not to at least consider her. Given that she hasn’t, however, makes her the surest bet to be the #1 pick come draft day.

Emma Maltais
Photo Credit: OSU Athletics

5) F Emma Maltais, Ohio State (WCHA)^
Hometown: Burlington, Ontario
There’s such a wide chasm between the production of Giguere and Watts and the rest of the field that someone like an Emma Maltais can fly under the radar a little. Let’s be clear – she shouldn’t. Maltais is an effective, 200-foot player whose best attribute is clearly her feet. She’s a brilliant skater with a balanced offensive skillset. She has spent a considerable amount of her time in Columbus stapled to Tatum Skaggs, so the two have developed a tremendous amount of chemistry.


NCAA Women's Hockey: Cornell vs Ohio State NOV 29
November 29, 2019: Ohio State Buckeyes forward Tatum Skaggs (11) fights for the puck against Cornell Big Red defenseman Jaimie Bourbonnais (14) in their game in Columbus, Ohio. Brent Clark/CSM(Credit Image: © Cal Sport Media)


7) F Tatum Skaggs, Ohio State (WCHA)
Hometown: Hartland, Wisconsin
Skaggs is the second half of the Ohio State dynamic duo. She’s a lethal goal scorer with plenty of pedigree and will be an important player to watch as it pertains to whether she will be eligible given her ties to the US National Team.

Jesse Compher
Photo Credit: BU Athletics

8) F Jesse Compher, Boston University (WHEA)+
Hometown: Northbrook, Illinois
Compher is a big, pro-ready body with plenty of pedigree. She’s incredibly quick, and she pairs her size with a willingness to take the puck to the net. She’s got a great shot and sees the ice well. There aren’t a ton of concerns here, though she did miss a large chunk of the start of the season this year due to injury problems. She has also already seen significant time with the US National Team, so she’s likely to be unavailable in the draft. But the talent her is tough to ignore.

Natalie Snodgrass
Photo Credit: UConn Athletics

9) F Natalie Snodgrass, Connecticut (WHEA)#
Hometown: Eagan, Minnesota
Snodgrass is a classic power forward. She’s big and strong, with deceptive speed and a nose for the net. She’s not great defensively and is extremely undisciplined. Her poor temper is a widely known fact, but if she could rein in the violent episodes to a more legal level, she would be a Top 5 player.

10) F Maddie Mills, Cornell (ECAC)
Hometown: Sewickley, Pennsylvania

11) D Emily Curlett, Robert Morris (CHA)
Hometown: Lapeer, Michigan

Corinne Schroeder
Photo Credit: BU Athletics

12) G Corinne Schroeder, Boston University (WHEA)
Hometown: Elm Creek, Manitoba
Schroeder will often get overlooked simply because she’s in the same class as Aerin Frankel – but that could be to her benefit if Frankel is taken by the National Team. Schroeder really started coming into her own last season and was a big reason why BU started storming back to a 2nd place finish in Hockey East this year. She’s much bigger than the average goaltender, and she fills the net well. She isn’t necessarily as athletic as some smaller goalies, but her positional work is solid, and she can make the odd acrobatic save. This is a really good goaltender. She may never be a superstar, but she has enough upside to make her a 1st Round prospect.

Annie Katonka
Photo Credit: Plattsburgh Athletics

13) F Annie Katonka, Plattsburgh (NEWHL – DIII)
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Katonka is the clear best player in Division III in this class. Even when scaling for the relatively lower level of competition in Division III, she has the 11th highest weighted career goals created of any rising senior. She had 41 points in 26 games this past year for Plattsburgh and has a national championship under her belt as well. Plattsburgh is consistently one of the best programs in Division III, so I’m not tremendously concerned about the transition to professional hockey. She had 31 goals in 31 games as a sophomore, so the goal scoring acumen is clearly there. I fully expect her to pursue a career in professional hockey in some form or fashion.

14) F Malia Schneider, Colgate (ECAC)^
Hometown: Huntsville, Ontario

15) F Summer-Rae Dobson, Mercyhurst (CHA)
Hometown: Huntsville, Ontario

Lexi Templeman
Photo Credit: RMU Athletics

16) F Lexi Templeman, Robert Morris (CHA)
Hometown: Staffa, Ontario
Templeman was sort of hidden on a Robert Morris squad that featured two 2020 NWHL Draft Picks in Jaycee Gebhard and Natalie Marcuzzi, but she brings a lot of offense to the table. She has good lateral mobility, and a balanced offensive skillset. She doesn’t have a ton of north/south speed, but she’s not slow by any means. To make up for that, she utilizes a high hockey IQ and vision, and pairs that with a tremendous work ethic to culminate in a well-rounded threat.

17) G Lindsay Browning, Cornell (ECAC)
Hometown: Penfield, New York

Liz Schepers
Photo Credit: John Huether/The Lantern

18) F Liz Schepers, Ohio State (WCHA)
Hometown: Mound, Minnesota
Since being put on a line with superstars Maltais and Skaggs, Schepers’ production has soared,
making the jump from seven goals in each of her first two seasons to twenty-two (!!!) in her junior campaign alone. In overtime and in the dying minutes of a tied game, Schepers has become the one Nadine Muzzerall counts on to go out and score the big finisher — she led the WCHA and tied a program record with six game-winning goals in 2019-2020. She has a solid history against highly-ranked teams too, notching a team-high four points (one PPG and three assists) in this season’s series against nationally-ranked Cornell. Even if you turn a blind eye to her stats, it’s difficult to ignore just how big a playmaker Schepers is on the ice — she’s a pivotal piece of the Buckeyes’ top line, and there’s no doubt that Ohio State wouldn’t have finished the season ranked fourth in the nation without her. – Anne Tokarski


Maureen Murphy
Photo Credit: Providence Athletics

19) F Maureen Murphy, Northeastern (WHEA)#
Hometown: Buffalo, New York
After a dazzling start to her collegiate career, Murphy missed nearly the entire season this year due to undisclosed reasons. When in the lineup, she can take over a shift, and has a brilliant release. I still want to see a little more from her in terms of consistency, but she is definitely a player to keep an eye on, given her status for next season is still up in the air. Murphy announced in June that she will be transferring to Northeastern for her final season of eligibility. Despite only suiting up for 11 games this season for the Friars, it would require a waiver from the NCAA to allow her to spend two seasons with the Huskies, one I doubt she would receive from the organization as there do not appear to be extenuating circumstances to grant it, and the rules for eligibility are quite clear. This gives some clarity to her missed time this season, but also asks a lot more questions. Why did she decide to transfer? Were there problems at Providence? How will she fit in a stacked Northeastern roster? If anything, this makes her season look all the more interesting to watch.


20) F Becca Gilmore, Harvard (ECAC)#
Hometown: Wayland, Massachusetts


Veronika Pettey
Photo Credit: Northeastern Athletics


21) F Veronika Pettey, Northeastern (WHEA)
Hometown: Potomac, Maryland
After starting her collegiate career extremely strong, Petty regressed offensively this past season. There was a large enough dip in offensive production to be concerned, but her defensive value also appears to have dropped, seeing her CF% Relative dropping from 5.28 to 3.11. Still respectable numbers, but it is worrisome to see a player dip both offensively and She was a key player for the Huskies as a freshman and sophomore, however, and it will be interesting to see her final season. Was this a blip on the radar? Or is it a sign of a plateau?

22) F Natalie Heising, Penn State (CHA)#
Hometown: Wayzata, Minnesota

Nara Elia
Photo Credit: BU Athletics

23) F Nara Elia, Boston University (WHEA)^
Hometown: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Elia is a big power forward with some goal scoring acumen. Her foot speed is the real concern here, but given the space to operate, she’s got a wicked release. She’s probably best utilized as a net-front presence, particularly on the powerplay, and to win board battles low in the zone. Despite not always having the most counting stats, especially compared to her teammates (she often has played foil to Compher and Sammy Davis), she has a remarkably high impact on shot rates and transitionally.

Morgan Wabick
Photo Credit: UConn Athletics

24) F Morgan Wabick, Connecticut (WHEA)
Hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Connecticut got lucky with the Wabick twins. Morgan is a solid, two-way forward with good hands and a better shot. She’s defensively responsible, but not relied upon as a penalty killer. She’s not particularly brilliant at any one skill, but she does everything really well. She’ll be productive in most any role she is asked to play.

Taylor Wabick
Photo Credit: UConn Athletics

25) D Taylor Wabick, Connecticut (WHEA)
Hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba
The other half of the Wabick twins might actually be the more productive one when you factor in position. Taylor has the same dynamic skating ability as her sister and uses it to jump into the play often. She’s got a good, accurate shot from the point, and is positionally sound in her own end. She’s a little on the smaller side for a defender, but she checks every other box you’d look for in a modern two-way defender.

Clair DeGeorge
Photo Credit: Jillian Gandsey/Bemidji Pioneer

26) F Claire DeGeorge, Bemidji State (WCHA)#
Hometown: Anchorage, Alaska
Clair DeGeorge has always been a quietly underrated player in the WCHA, but Beavers fans know she’s always been something special. Finishing her third season with the Beavers just six points behind 2020 23rd overall pick Haley Mack, the Alaska native is setting herself up to be Bemdiji State’s leading scorer and most productive playmaker going into her senior year. She’s always been a playmaker too – in an interview with Gabs Fundaro of the Ice Garden, DeGeorge says she loves to get in the corner and make plays to set up her teammates. Considering she led the Beavers in helpers this season and was tied for the most primary assists, this should come as really no surprise to anyone who’s watched her. During the 2019-2020 season, DeGeorge suited up in the red, white, and blue for the Rivalry Series with Canada, making her status for the 2021 Draft a little uncertain. – Anne Tokarski

Haley Parker
Photo Credit: FPU Athletics

27) F Haley Parker, Franklin Pierce (NEWHA)

Hometown: Londonderry, New Hampshire
Parker was a part of Franklin Pierce’s fantastic first season as a fully Division I program, and she’s going to be one of the most important offensive threats for the Ravens this season. She is a hard-working, grinding forward with a decent shot and great hands. As will probably be a theme as we move down the rankings, she doesn’t have a ton of speed, and she could stand to tweak her stride a touch, but she makes up for that with her brain. Acknowledging that teams in NEWHA played a slightly weaker schedule than many of their Division I counterparts, Parker has still been above a point per game over the past two years, and this past season had the 4th highest scaled goals created per estimated hour in the country, behind only Daryl Watts, Elizabeth Giguere, and Grace Zumwinkle. The only other player above 1 goal created per estimated hour this season was Maddie Mills. That’s it. She produces. Period, end of statement.

28) F Callie Hoff, Wisconsin-River Falls (WIAC – DIII)
Hometown: Hermantown, Minnesota

29) F Katy Meehan, St. Anselm (NEWHA)
Hometown: Quincy, Massachusetts

30) D Greta Skarzynski, Yale (ECAC)
Hometown: Lake Forest, Illinois

Brette Pettet
Photo Credit: University of Wisconsin Athletics

31) F Brette Pettet, Wisconsin (WCHA)^
Hometown: Kentville, Nova Scotia
Brette Pettet has been a remarkable depth player on a star-studded Badgers roster. Despite being named to the U18 WWC roster and playing a crucial role in bringing the silver medal home to Canada in 2017, she’s spent a lot of her career being overlooked. In 2019-20, she ranked fifth on the Badgers in points and goals, and seventh in assists, behind standouts like Daryl Watts, Sophie Shirley, and Abby Roque. That being said, she would be a great top six option at forward for any team in the NWHL, and her production has been pretty comparable to 2020 fourth round selection Haley Mack, so we shouldn’t count her out just yet. – Anne Tokarski

Ashton Bell
Photo Credit: Clint Austin/Duluth News

32) F Ashton Bell, Minnesota-Duluth (WCHA)^
Hometown: Deloraine, Manitoba
Converted to defense for her junior year, Ashton Bell made a huge splash on the blue line for the Bulldogs what with her soaring production and her reliable defensive style of play. In 2019-20, she ranked third on the team in scoring and first among defenders, with 11 goals and 21 assists bringing her to 32 points overall. She opened the season strong this year with a five game point streak, only broken in a 2-1 loss to a surging Bemidji State team, and finished out the year with all-WCHA First Team honors. On the international stage, Bell’s two silver medals with Team Canada at the U18 Women’s World Championships are nothing to scoff at, nor is her selection as one of Canada’s top three players of the tournament in 2017. –Anne Tokarski

Emily Brown
Photo Credit: University of  Minnesota Athletics

33) D Emily Brown, Minnesota (WCHA)#
Hometown: Blaine, Minnesota
Named to the All-WCHA second team for the second consecutive season at the end of her junior year, Emily Brown’s been quietly making a name for herself not just in the WCHA, but across the nation. She’s reliable in the back end while also having a keen eye for the net, ranking in the top ten in the conference in points by a defender and registering 1.89 SOG/GP over the course of her third season with the Gophers. While the performance of a defender is often overshadowed by the firepower of their team’s forwards, Brown shouldn’t be overlooked in any capacity.  – Anne Tokarski

34) F Katelyn Brown, Neumann (UCHC – DIII)
Hometown: Springfield, Pennsylvania

35) F Kristina Shanahan, Vermont (WHEA)
Hometown: Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec

36) G Chantal Burke, Penn State (CHA)
Hometown: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

37) G Kelsey Roberts, Calgary (Canada West – USports)
Hometown: Kitimat, British Columbia

Olivia Knowles
Photo Credit: WCHA

38) D Olivia Knowles, Minnesota (WCHA)^
Hometown: Campbell River, British Columbia
Olivia Knowles finished her junior season with the Gophers with 18 points, off 3 goals and 15 assists, through all 36 games. Though her offensive production wavered, during her sophomore year, she ranked second on the team in blocked shots with 61. Her freshman season, Knowles had the honor of being named to the WCHA All-Rookie team and the All-USCHO Rookie Team, as one of the league and the nation’s top freshman defenders. Prior to suiting up in the maroon and gold, she won two silver medals with Team Canada at the U18 Women’s World Championship, on a roster with other draft eligible players from the WCHA like Ashton Bell, Emma Maltais, and Brette Pettet. –Anne Tokarski

39) D Kate Glover, Harvard (ECAC)
Hometown: Golden Valley, Minnesota

Mak Langei
Photo Credit: Jillian Gandsey/Bemidji Pioneer

40) D Mak Langei, Bemidji State (WCHA)#
Hometown: East Grand Forks, Minnesota
Mak Langei has been very reliable for the Beavers both in terms of offensive production and in the back end. Over the course of her first three years with the Beavers, she averaged around 15 points a season, mostly as a playmaker tallying assists. As a freshman, she earned WCHA All-Rookie team honors, followed up by an All-WCHA Third Team selection her sophomore year. Prior to launching her collegiate career at Bemidji State, Langei competed with Team USA in one U18 Women’s World Championship, where she was apart of an American squad — alongside other 2021 Draft eligibles Sydney Brodt and Taylor Wente — that brought home gold. –Anne Tokarski

Taylor Wente
Photo Credit: Jim Rosvold

41) F Taylor Wente, Minnesota (WCHA)#
Hometown: Plymouth, Minnesota
Taylor Wente got off to a solid start with the Gophers during her freshman and sophomore seasons, posting upwards of 20 points during both campaigns. While her offensive production dropped off in 2019-20, it’s worth recognizing the kind of talent she’s competing with for a spot in the Gophers’ middle six — players like Taylor Heise, Grace Zumwinkle, and Amy and Sarah Potomak. Nevertheless, on any other roster in the WCHA, Wente would undoubtedly shine as a player in the top six and have more opportunities to flourish, which would translate directly to her success in a league like the NWHL. She’s made two consecutive U18 Women’s World Championship appearances with Team USA prior to the start of her collegiate career, earning two gold medals and “most assists” at the 2016 tournament. –Anne Tokarski

42) F Nicole Amato, Franklin Pierce (NEWHA)
Hometown: Billerica, Massachusetts

Anna Klein
Photo Credit: UMD Athletics

43) F Anna Klein, Minnesota-Duluth (WCHA)
Hometown: Edina, Minnesota
The product of Edina, Minnesota, is on an upwards trajectory with no signs of stopping. After a somewhat shaky start to her collegiate career that included only five goals and two assists for seven points on the season, Klein’s soared to new heights with the Bulldogs in the following years: in 2019-20, she more than tripled her offensive production from her freshman season, with 13 goals and 14 assists for 27 points. While she’s never suited up in the red, white, and blue at any international tournaments, Klein’s definitely a player that ought to be on Team USA’s radar — and on the NWHL’s radar, if the trajectory of her collegiate career is anything to go by. –Anne Tokarski

44) F Victoria Klimek, Syracuse (CHA)
Hometown: Orangeville, Ontario

Lauren MacInnis
Photo Credit: Kelly Chan

45) D Lauren MacInnis, Northeastern (WHEA)

Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri
MacInnis plays a little like her father (HHOF Al MacInnis) in that she’s tall, lanky, and has a big shot from the point. She didn’t get significant minutes until this season with the Huskies, so there is a lot of betting on potential upside here, but she skates well enough to be a modern shutdown defender. I don’t expect a ton of offense from the her at the next level, but she should be able to contribute when needed. With the loss of multiple NWHL draft picks to the Huskies’ blueline, I believe MacInnis is positioned to take on a leading role on Northeastern’s blueline as a senior.

46) D Ellie Larson, RIT (CHA)
Hometown: Hutchinson, Minnesota

47) F Alexa Vasko, Mercyhurst (CHA)^
Hometown: Saint Catharines, Ontario

Julia Benjamin
Photo Credit: David Bates

48) G Julia Benjamin, UNE (Colonial Hockey – DIII)

Hometown: Tolland, Connecticut
In a class that features two of the best goaltenders in college hockey, you have to find some secondary options. Benjamin has been dynamite at Division III UNE for the past three seasons, tallying 30 wins in 52 appearances for the Nor’easters. She has done that to the tune of a 1.75 GAA and .938 SV% over her career. That’s impressive on the surface, but more impressive if you dig a little deeper. When adjusting for league, she is the best goaltender in Division III hockey in this class and has a higher GSAA than 8 of the eligible Division I goaltenders available. She is the only Division III goaltender who has saved more than 10 goals above average in her career, even with the league adjustment applied, sitting at an adjusted 13.96 GSAA over 52 appearances. That’s a strong option hidden a bit deeper in this class for the craftier GMs in the league.

Maddie Truax 4
Photo Credit: Jack Bouchard

49) D Maddie Truax, UNH (WHEA)

Hometown: Gardner, Massachusetts
Truax had a breakout season this year for the Wildcats. It was the first time in her career that she received considerable minutes on the back end, and she delivered. Her single goal was an overtime winner over UConn, but offense isn’t really her calling card. She’s a tremendous shot blocker, she’s got a good, hard slap shot from the point, and she has no qualms about being physical. The footspeed is average, and she can get blinders on sometimes, but I’ve seen flashes of brilliance moving the puck out of her own end. She does get a lot of shots blocked from the point, but I don’t think she’s destined for a powerplay role at the next level. A former walk-on, the work ethic is undeniable, and she brings a menacing presence to any defensive pairing.

50) D Rachel Marmen, Mercyhurst (CHA)
Hometown: Oakville, Ontario

51) D Brooke Hobson, Northeastern (WHEA)^
Hometown: Prince Albert, Saskatchewan

52) F Taylor Girard, Quinnipiac (ECAC)
Hometown: Macomb, Michigan

53) F Emma Crocker, Elmira (UCHC – DIII)
Hometown: Worcester, Massachusetts

54) F Kennedy Ganser, Alberta (Canada West – USports)
Hometown: Provost, Alberta

55) D Samantha Benoit, Norwich (NEHC – DIII)
Hometown: Bow, New Hampshire
Benoit is a tall, lanky, offensively minded defender that Norwich has been lucky to have on the back end. She’s bigger than most defenders at her level and was easily one of the most productive defenders at the Division III level. She’s got a good shot from the point, and she’s extremely strong in her own end, especially in one on one battles and along the boards. Plus/minus is an immensely flawed stat, but when you are a +138 in 88 games, that is deserving of some attention. More of her offense comes from goal scoring, which is unusual for a defender, and that’s because she can sometimes get tunnel vision with the puck. Her biggest flaw is her skating. Her stride is a bit odd, and she doesn’t possess a ton of north/south speed. Her size, length, and reach all help her make up for that, but that only takes you so far. There is plenty of upside here, with the size and shot combination being a relative rarity in the women’s game, and her willingness to be physical would lend well to the professional level. But it will require the right situation and the right deployment to maximize that potential.

56) D Jessica DiGorlamo, Syracuse (CHA)
Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario

57) D Natalie Buchbinder, Wisconsin (WCHA)#
Hometown: Fairpoint, New York

58) F Tianna Lopes, Manhattanville (NEWHL – DIII)
Hometown: West Vancouver, British Columbia

59) F Marissa Massaro, Franklin Pierce (NEWHA)
Hometown: Brockton, Massachusetts

Madie Leidt
Photo Credit: The Middlebury Campus

60) Madie Leidt, Middlebury (NESCAC – DIII)

Hometown: Killingworth, Connecticut
Middlebury has long been one of the most successful Division III programs in the country, and often attract players that would have been successful at the Division I level had they chosen to do so. Leidt has Division I physical tools – she’s a great skater, has a lightning-quick release, and fantastic hands, and has put them to good use in her career – tallying 45 goals and 87 points in 82 games with the Panthers over the past three years. I sometimes worry about her decision-making and vision, which could mean she would be more of a point and aim player at the next level than a true play-driver, but the toolset and production are both intriguing.

61) F Brittyn Fleming, Minnesota State (WCHA)
Hometown: Oregon, Wisconsin

62) F Coralie Larose, Colgate (ECAC)
Hometown: Embrun, Ontario

63) F Emma Polaski, Syracuse (CHA)
Hometown: Morristown, New Jersey

64) F Jules Kennedy, William Smith (UCHC – DIII)
Hometown: Winthrop, Massachusetts

65) F Keely Moy, Harvard (ECAC)
Hometown: San Diego, California

66) F Brooke Jovanovich, Harvard (ECAC)
Hometown: Oakville, Ontario

Hayley Lunny
Photo Credit: Providence Athletics

67) Hayley Lunny, Providence (WHEA)
Hometown: Bedford, New York
Lunny is a very competent power forward in the making. She’s sturdy and knows how to use her physicality, both to angle off on-rushing attackers and to protect the puck low in the offensive zone. She possesses a good, hard shot, but the accuracy is inconsistent at times. Her hands are often quicker than the feet, but the hands are so good that she still can pick her way through an opposing defense with ease. However, when the Friars lost Maureen Murphy early in the year, Lunny didn’t step up in the dominant fashion I would’ve liked to see based on her abilities. Some of that is coaching and deployment, but I’m curious to see how she recovers from a relatively poor showing in Providence’s quarterfinal loss at the hands of UNH.

68) F Jordan Hansen, Hamline (MIAC – DIII)
Hometown: White Bear Lake, Minnesota

Sharon Frankel
Photo Credit: Princeton Athletics

69) F Sharon Frankel, Princeton (ECAC)
Hometown: West Hartford, Connecticut
The other Frankel in DI college hockey is still no slouch. Sharon, already announced as one of the Tigers’ captains for her senior campaign, is a smaller forward who uses her quickness and work ethic to shake off any concerns about her size. She is still willing to go into the tough areas of the ice and grind out a shift, and pairs that with a good shot and excellent stickhandling skills. Above all else, she’s one of the smartest players in this class. I think it’s obvious at this point how much value I place on intelligence when scouting a player, and when I hear from a source that she was fluently multi-lingual as a middle schooler, that has me intrigued to say the least.

70) F Lauren Nicholson, Ryerson (OUA – USports)
Hometown: Dresden, Ontario

71) F Kristina Schuler, Boston University (WHEA)
Hometown: Webster, New York

Jess Adams
Photo Credit: Elmira Athletics

72) F Jess Adams, Elmira (UCHC – DIII)
Hometown: Holliston, Massachusetts
Adams is a very productive member of a strong Elmira club. She’s well rounded offensively, with a good shot, above average hands, and she sees the ice well. Her production is what vaults her onto this list, as she potted 20 goals this season for the Soaring Eagles. Her shooting percentage was an alarmingly high 23.8%, but that’s not too far off her career average (18.2). She has 31 goals on 170 career shots. That’s shockingly efficient regardless of level, and bears a closer look in her senior season.

73) F Lindsey Donovan, St. Francis Xavier (AUS – USports)
Hometown: Miramichi, New Brunswick

74) F Paige Beebe, Bemidji State (WCHA)
Hometown: Ham Lake, Minnesota

75) F Val Caldwell, Vermont (WHEA)
Hometown: Glenview, Illinois

76) F Caitlin Schneider, Wisconsin (WCHA)
Hometown: Glenview, Illinois

77) D Grace Bowlby, Wisconsin (WCHA)#
Hometown: Edina, Minnesota

78) D Willow Slobodzian, Cornell (ECAC)^
Hometown: Clavet, Saskatchewan

79) F Megan Fergusson, Merrimack (WHEA)
Hometown: Kitchener, Ontario

80) D Skyler Podvey, St. Lawrence (ECAC)
Hometown: Montclair, New Jersey

81) F Michelle Weis, Maine (WHEA)*
Hometown: Charlottenlund, Denmark

Tristen Truax
Photo Credit: Kjerstin Hall/MSU Reporter

82) D Tristen Truax, Minnesota State (WCHA)
Hometown: Shakopee, Minnesota
Tristen Truax ought not to be overlooked in the 2021 Draft. During her junior campaign with the Mavericks, she was tied for third in the WCHA in blocks (83) with teammate and current free agent McKenzie Sederberg, and ranked behind just below teammate Anna Wilgren and Bemidji State’s Tina Kampa. She has an eye for offensive production (ranked in the top ten in the WCHA for SOG/GP at 2.65, and doubled her goal production from the previous two seasons), but doesn’t neglect the back end either. In 2018-19, she was earned WCHA Defender of the Week honors after a two-point weekend against Minnesota Duluth, and while she’s yet to collect any all-WCHA honors, she’s on the fringe of the conference’s top tier of defenders. With another year to go, Truax is sure to make even more of a name for herself in her final year of eligibility with the Mavericks. – Anne Tokarski

83) D Shelby Wood, Colgate (ECAC)^
Hometown: Cambridge, Ontario

Grace Middleton 1
Photo Credit: Jack Bouchard

84) F Grace Middleton, UNH (WHEA)

Hometown: Midland, Michigan
Later in the draft, you always look for players with upside. As UNH graduates 9 seniors, only 2 of which are on the blueline, Middleton has been somewhat buried on the depth chart. She has been productive in her limited ice time, and possesses excellent vision, and an extremely high hockey IQ, especially in the offensive zone. She doesn’t have the best foot speed, but she’s a smooth skater, and is good enough laterally to make up for her lack of north/south speed. She’s got a fairly good shot, but her puck distribution is very clearly her forte. Importantly, she’s good transitionally; she is consistently one of the better Wildcat forwards at controlled zone entries, a skill which should easily transition to the next level.

85) F Dominika Laskova, Merrimack (WHEA)*
Hometown: Prague, Czech Republic

86) F Tessa Ward, Northeastern (WHEA)
Hometown: Galesburg, Michigan

87) F Shea Nelson, Penn State (CHA)
Hometown: Evanston, Illinois

Mackenzie Lombardi
Photo Credit: Morrisville Athletics

88) F MacKenzie Lombardi, Morrisville (NEWHL – DIII)
Hometown: Hamilton, Ontario
Lombardi is a waterbug, small and quick with fantastic offensive upside. She’s a diminutive, intelligent sniper who manages to do her fair share of distribution as well. Her biggest drawback is her size – she’d be one of the smaller forwards in the league at just 5’2”, and she’s rather spindly to boot. But you can’t argue with the results – two straight seasons at or above a point-per-game pace and a near-20% shooting percentage. She will be a key cog in the attack for the Mustangs once again this season, and a third straight season of efficient productivity would indicate that it might translate well to the next level.

89) F Sierra Burt, Lindenwood (CHA)
Hometown: Bayfield, Ontario

90) F Audrey Belzile, Concordia (RESQ – USports)
Hometown: La Presentation, Quebec

91) F Taylor House, Quinnipiac (ECAC)
Hometown: Joliet, Illinois

92) F Jade Downie-Landry, McGill (RESQ – USports)
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec

93) D Antonia Matzka, Holy Cross (WHEA)*
Hometown: Moedling, Austria

94) D Chloe Gonsalves, Providence (WHEA)
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

95) F Kate Bukolska, Merrimack (WHEA)*
Hometown: Prague, Czech Republic

96) F Hannah Tracy, Johnson and Wales (NEHC – DIII)
Hometown: Hanson, Massachusetts

97) F Brooke Bonsteel, Quinnipiac (ECAC)
Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario

98) F Brittney Gout, St. Lawrence (ECAC)
Hometown: Caledon, Ontario

99) F Lydia Passolt, Bemidji State (WCHA)
Hometown: Chanhassen, Minnesota

100) D KK Thiessen, Mercyhurst (CHA)
Hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba



Stay connected with more women’s hockey coverage from Pride Diehards!

By: Spencer Fascetta | Follow me on Twitter @PuckNerdHockey

Contributing to this article: Anne Tokarski | Follow her on Twitter @annetokarski


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

One thought on “(A WAY Too Early) 2021 NWHL Draft Preview

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