2024 PWHL Mock Draft: On the road to next season
8 mins read

2024 PWHL Mock Draft: On the road to next season

As we did last year, we invited other PWHL journalists. to join us in a mock draft to try to make sense of what is always a nebulous drafting process. We have had Book of Jared of the Habs with their eyes fixed on the prize for Montreal, Nate Wells from Gopher State for Minnesota, Michel Lopez by Tendy Love and Care was New York, Kyle Cushman of theScore represented Toronto and Anne Tokarski was our person for Ottawa, formerly of The Ice Garden.

This year we had a fixed order, no snake and only 7 rounds of selection. So it went much faster, we also discussed free agents. Boston Picked 4th in each round thanks to its overtaking of Minnesota on the penultimate day of the regular season, the postseason series had no impact on draft positioning.

Boston has 11 draft entries, 7 F, 2 D, and 2 G. With both guards on the roster, this certainly won’t be a priority. Defense will have to be a top priority, and that’s where I spent my first capital. Personally, I think we’ll bring back a few free agents (Morin and Fratkin) but that still leaves two huge holes in the starting lineup and a need for depth. Top You have your first two lines mostly intact, plus Girard and Gabel. My feeling is that they will prioritize a winger to pair with Mueller and Tapani, which will move Schafzahl up the lineup. For the main roster, I think Marner will bring back Brandt and Shirley while giving a major push to Adzija, she will have a large market and have fewer ties to Boston. That leaves four positions in the starting lineup plus reserve roles. With the number of games increasing, you have to feel like they will at least add more reserve spots, if not more roster spots, so depth will be crucial.

Among the reserve free agents, I feel like Pelkey ​​and Babstock are prime candidates to return in some capacity, both highly regarded figures and perfect for the locker room. The big recruit should be Jillian Dempsey, as she is heading towards the end of her career and certainly doesn’t want to end it with any sweater other than Boston.

With these free agents likely involved, there are four starting roster spots left plus the extra defenseman spot to fill, 1st line RW, 3rd line C, 1RD, 2LD and the extra defenseman.

Round 1

4- Cayla Barnes, D, Ohio State (Boston College)- With the first two picks likely settled, it came down to choosing between Eagle’s two current former Minnesota Buckeyes. In our draft, Minnesota went with F Hannah Bilka, which left D Cala Barnes for Boston, which is a heck of a consolation prize. Barnes will fit in well with Keller, the two played together at BC and for Team USA. Claire Thompson was an important consideration in this position and Amanda Kessel could be noticed, particularly through her connection to our head coach.

2nd round

10- Ronja Savolainen, D, Luleå HF- I went D again, this time a tall European. The striker I was targeting, Izzy Daniel, had already been selected and while Julia Gosling was still on the board, I was pretty sold on Savolainen. With the physicality this league has allowed, a bigger, more established D will be crucial to establishing a presence and protecting Frankel.

Round 3

16- Jennifer Gardiner, F, Ohio State- At this point I knew I needed a goal threat. Other options available were Abby Boreen, Klara Hymlarova or Brit Curl. I chose Gardiner because I felt she would fit in well with Mueller and Tapani, averaging about a point per game in the WCHA, while also being a former Canada U-18.

Round 4

22- Naomi Rogge, F, Minnesota-Duluth/SDE HF- Here I was looking to fill a 3rd/4th C line spot. I wanted someone who had played a more physical game in Europe and who could fit in. I was very torn between Rogge and Yale Hartje. I could very easily see Marner going this direction and, looking back, I could make this change myself. Rogge’s experience in Sweden will be a big boost for her and will hopefully prepare her from day one to step into the PWHL. Hartje might take a little more time to adjust, which is something teams can’t afford in this league.

Round 5

28- Anna Wilgren, D, Wisconsin- At this point, the D’s were getting slimmer and thinner picks, so I decided to add my role as a supplemental defender with a Badger/Maverick product. Boston will need depth at D this ear with the extended schedule and the injury bug still present.

Round 6

34- Julia Nearis, F, Quinnipiac (Boston University)- I was definitely coming here. But at this point in the draft, I wasn’t seeing people I expected to be consistently among the top 9 forwards and was most likely looking at reserve/training camp players. They’ll probably be at the league minimum as well, so you have to find players willing to stay in Boston with those connections, so I was looking at players with connections. I was originally looking at Katy Knoll, but I thought she was already taken and went with the BU/Quinipiac product as someone who could step in and play.

Round 7

40- Katy Knoll, F, Northeast- At this point it was a case of looking at who could fit in and maybe give a boost to the games they would be entered for. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was wrong about Knoll being taken earlier, even though Ottawa had looked at her in each of the previous rounds, hence my mistake. But my luck is Boston’s, because Knoll is a player who, when surrounded by the right people, can make magic happen. She’s not the replacement on-ice player NU was hoping for last year, but Knoll is more than capable of taking advantage of whatever she’s given and strengthening her team.

Free agents

The draft class has gotten a little thin at this point, and there are options for reserve-level players, but I’ll focus primarily on returning free agents here. AS already mentioned, I feel like Brandt Morin and Fratkin are pretty safe returns. I like to think Shirley has found her role and will look to return, while Adzija is great, she might find a bigger role/deal elsewhere. In my mind, Dempsey is a Boston player or bust player, and Babstock is probably a similar model. I would love to see Gigi Marvin return and if she plays she should have a spot, but I wonder if retirement is on the cards for her.

Among the other non-Boston free agents, I could see Boston trying to go after Amanda Boulier with her previous Boston experience at D and up top, I wouldn’t be surprised if Boston made overtures towards Daryl Watts. She is controversial but she is also the most dynamic goalscorer available, the question is whether she will buy in and give her all. The other forward I would like to take a closer look at is Mikayla Grant-Mentis. She found her rhythm after moving to Montreal and was very good for them on special teams, an area of ​​considerable improvement for Boston.

Tune in tonight on PWHL YouTube at 7 p.m. ET to watch the real decision-makers make their choices and see how close we’ve come to them.