In the second annual NWHL draft from Brooklyn the Boston Pride went on a run of foreign players. All five of the picks were on players from outside the US, four Canadians and a Swiss national. This is in stark contrast to their championship roster that was exclusively American, the only team in the league to claim that.
With four of the picks being from Canada some will wonder if any of them will actually play in the NWHL due to the presence of the CWHL and rumored pressure from Team Canada for any players with national team aspirations.
The first pick by the Pride was the epitome of a head scratcher. While Anne-Renee Desbiens of Wisconsin was unquestionably the best goalie available in the draft you have to wonder if Boston was the right fit and if the first round was the place to take her. Having just resigned the best goalie in the NWHL from last season and the elimination of the third goalie position this could not have been their top need. Especially since Ott played all but a single game and with the single game per weekend a backup is much less needed. Also last season the Pride drafted Harvard goalie Emerence Maschmeyer, who has yet to sign, and is in doubt to do so, with the second pick. Desbiens would be a great goalie for the Pride if she ever dresses for Boston. She was a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier award last season and would’ve won it if her playoff performances, shutting everyone out in the WCHA playoffs, allowing her to become the first goalie to win both the WCHA Player of the Year and tournament MVP
The second pick of the Pride was Sarah Nurse also a Badger. Nurse is a powerful forward who won the MVP of the WCHA tournament in 2015. She is known for her scoring lighting the lamp 20 times last season. The Badger standout would be a great fit for the Pride but with her also being a Canadian there is doubt she would forgo the CWHL
In the third round the Pride left the Badgers but stayed in the WCHA, and north of the border, drafting Minnesota-Duluth’s Ashleigh Brykaliuk. Brykaliuk had a high scoring season garnering 18 goals but was lethal passing accumulating 29 assists. With all the talent the Pride have up front, a player that can distribute the puck well could make this already potent team even more deadly.
For their fourth pick Boston selected North Dakota’s blue liner Halli Krzyzaniak. While she did not light the lamp often she was a stalwart in the still unnamed North Dakota defense and earned a captain’s C.
With their final pick the Pride took Duluth’s Swiss national Lara Stalder. Another forward who can really move the puck but is also a great finisher especially in national team duty. There is question of where she could be fit into the Pride roster, but if they can get her on the roster she would undoubtedly make the team better.
The four Beanpot schools also had five players drafted by the other teams in the league. First up was Harvard’s Sydney Daniels out of Harvard at 5th overall to the Riveters. The Massachusetts tallied 31 points last season en route to a First Team All-Ivy nod.
The second pick came two picks later as the Whale selected Eagles captain Andie Anastos 7th overall. Anastos will be a great fit for the Whale coming in as a great leader who can perform on the ice. She surpassed 100 points on her career last season and had an amazing +50 rating last season as she helped lead the Eagles to the brink of perfection.
Next up for the Boston schools was Northeastern’s Hayley Scamurra, selected 10th by Buffalo. Scamurra came back from injury the previous season and earned herself on NU’s top line. She helped lead the Huskies to their first ever NCAA tournament appearance. As a native of Williamsville, NY, Buffalo was a natural fit for her where her size and power up front will be very welcome when she joins them.
Northeastern added their second draft pick, the only one of the Boston schools to do so, as the Whale added Paige Savage with the 15th pick. Savage was also returning from a redshirt season. In previous seasons she had seen time with the top line and Kendall Coyne, this season she headlined the second line and gave the Huskies a potent second punch. She is well known for her acumen distributing the puck which will help the Whale as they try to get over the hump that is Boston.
The final pick from the Boston schools was out of Boston University, as the Beuats took Maddie Elia with their last pick at 18. Ellia like Scamurra is a Buffalo area native that should fit in nicely for the Beauts. She played a major role in the Terriers Hockey East tournament titles in 2014 and 2015, while tallying 29 points on the most recent campaign.