Sauce Us a Follow

Following the excitement of the Walter Cup, an exciting June kickstarts a busy offseason. Starting with the Draft on June 10, at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the following day puts a stamp on the inaugural season with the Awards ceremony. 

With the onset of free agency on June 21, teams will be looking to find hidden gems that were not selected on Draft Day.  Undoubtedly, the 2024 Draft will prove to be more impactful in the long term compared to the 2023 edition. While the legacy of 2023 will be best remembered as shaping the rosters for the nascent league, the foundation for many teams will be set in 2024.

As the talent pool consists of over 160 eligible players, highlighted by an impressive gathering of European talent, there is no shortage of opportunities to enhance a roster. Such talent ensures that parity will be a predominant theme once again, every team approaching the Draft with the optimism of finding the right pieces for the championship puzzle.

Round One

1: New York – Sarah Fillier

With an offense that ranked last in goals scored, New York finds a generational talent in Sarah Fillier. With over 190 points in NCAA play, her hockey resume also features Olympic gold and MVP honors at the 2023 IIHF Worlds.

As New York had no player reach double digits in goals last season, Fillier will certainly remedy the offensive struggle. Undeniably, she is the type of elite talent that makes others around her better. Should New York clinch a playoff berth, it could propel Fillier into the conversation for League MVP. 

2: Ottawa – Danielle Serdachny 

Having scored the golden goal at the 2024 IIHF Women’s Worlds, Serdachny instantly becomes a fan favorite in the nation’s capital. Representing a new generation of star power for Canada, Serdachny holds the potential to lead all rookies in scoring. 

For an Ottawa team that narrowly missed the playoffs, Serdachny could be the difference next season. Ready to contribute as a top six forward, Ottawa lands a franchise cornerstone.

3: Minnesota – Hannah Bilka 

Having won a Frozen Four title with Ohio State, Hannah Bilka remains in the Midwest. The top ranked American born forward is certainly the best puck handler in the Draft. Born in Texas, Bilka has over 20 appearances with the US National Team, with all signs pointing to a place on the 2026 Olympic team  Selected by the Walter Cup champions, her strong playmaking abilities will be a perfect complement to an already talented group of forwards, making the dream of another Walter Cup very possible. 

4: Boston – Cayla Barnes

For the second consecutive pick, an Ohio State star goes off the board as Barnes lands in Boston. Revered as a hard-working and humble player, the chance to skate for Boston brings a feeling of homecoming. 

Having also spent several seasons for Boston College, Barnes is a world class talent having worn the Stars and Stripes at the 2022 Olympics. A welcome addition to an already solid Boston blueline, Barnes will be considered a favorite for Defensive Player of the Year.

5: Montreal – Ronja Savolainen 

Following a shocking postseason sweep, Montreal adds a significant presence to their defense. Considered one of the world’s finest at her position, Savolainen becomes the first European selected in the Draft. 

Boasting an excellent body of work including a pair of Olympic bronze medals, she is the type of game changer whose grit and  fundamentally sound skill set will quickly benefit the club.

6: Toronto – Julia Gosling

After a heartbreaking playoff defeat, Toronto needs a combination of offensive punch and physical play. Finding the ideal pick in Julia Gosling, the St. Lawrence star has also played for the National Team. 

Considering that Natalie Spooner and Sarah Nurse accounted for the lion’s share of goals scored, Gosling will ease the burden. Bringing depth to the Toronto offense, Gosling has already drawn comparisons to Spooner, making her a perfect pick.

Round Two

7: New York – Claire Thompson 

Having called Fillier a teammate with Hockey Canada (winning gold at the 2022 Olympics) and at Princeton, the PWHL sees Claire Thompson enjoy the opportunity to reunite once again. 

Although Thompson could easily be a first round pick, New York will not hesitate to select her. Reputed as a game changer, her presence will help remedy last season’s goal differential of -14, worst in the league. Alongside Fillier, their combined efforts will help set the foundation for a winning culture in New York. 

8: Ottawa – Daniela Pejsova 

Sporting a roster with a handful of stars from Czechia, Pejsova is poised to be a perfect fit in Ottawa. Only 21 years young, Pejsova is the type of pick with a focus on the long term. Already an anchor on the national team’s blueline, Pejsova will be counted upon to strengthen an Ottawa defense that allowed 63 goals, second worst in the league. 

Considering that Ottawa head coach Carla MacLeod also serves in the same role for Czechia, Pejsova will benefit greatly. Capable of a solid 200-foot game, she already brings six years of pro experience, having skated in Sweden.

9: Minnesota – Abigail Boreen 

Enjoying the milestone of the Walter Cup, Abigail Boreen is draft eligible because she was a reserve player with Minnesota. Returning to the club, Boreen will continue to build on her solid postseason effort. Maintaining her team first approach and reliability, Boreen has already demonstrated that she can play at the pro level and will be rewarded with an opportunity to return to Minnesota.

10: Boston – Izzy Daniel 

With the Patty Kazmaier Award winner still on the board, Boston cannot resist. Instantly pencilled in as a top six forward, Izzy Daniel possesses All-Star potential.

Despite reaching the Walter Cup Finals, only New York scored fewer goals in the regular season. For a Boston squad in need of more offense, Daniel will be a welcome addition. 

11: Montreal – Noora Tulus  

Montreal acquires another European star, adding a new complexion to the team. Perhaps the fastest skater available in the Draft, Tulus has a pair of Olympic medals, bringing Montreal world class experience. 

Enjoying a scoring championship in the SDHL, the 28 year old Tulus brings plenty of upside. As Marie-Philip Poulin and Laura Stacey accounted for more than 30 percent of Montreal’s goals, Tulus will supply much needed offensive depth. 

12: Toronto – Jennifer Gardiner 

As another member of the Buckeyes championship roster joins the 2024 PWHL Draft class, Gardiner is another piece of the puzzle for an improved Toronto offense. 

Having served as Ohio State’s captain, Gardiner earned Second Team All-America honors. Having set a positive example throughout her collegiate career with a continued commitment to improve, her willingness to learn makes her very coachable.

Considering that Spooner and Emma Maltais are also former Buckeyes, Gardiner will feel right at home with her new team.

Round Three

13: New York – Maja Nylen Persson 

Competent on both sides of the ice, Nylen Persson instantly becomes a top four blueliner for New York. The 23 year old from Sweden already has two Olympics on her resume. Having recently served as team captain for Brynas IF, her greatest asset might be an exceptional maturity. Possessing a right shot, she can be counted upon for plenty of ice time, while maintaining a disciplined style. 

14: Ottawa – Elle Hartje 

Drafting an Ivy League star, Ottawa finds character in Elle Hartje. A second generation skater, whose father Todd played for the Winnipeg Jets, Hartje served as Yale captain. Capping off her collegiate career with the Mandi Schwartz Scholar Athlete of the Year Award, she graduated as Yale’s all-time leading scorer. 

Among the best facets of her game at Yale included strong play in both power play and penalty kill situations. A face-off specialist who could excel in her rookie season on the third line, Hartje becomes the next American star to find a home with Ottawa.

15: Minnesota – Klara Hymlarova 

Another star player from Czechia, Klara Hymlarova is a solid pick. In addition to appearing at the 2022 Olympics, her  hockey resume includes two IIHF bronze medals, 

A highly disciplined two-way player that is rarely in the penalty box, Hymlarova, a multiple WCHA All-Academic brings a local element to the Minnesota roster. Having starred for the St. Cloud State Huskies, the sense of familiarity ensures a smooth transition to the pro ranks.

16: Boston – Amanda Kessel 

Despite dropping to the third round, Amanda Kessel is a value pick. At 32 years, the All-World forward still has plenty of good hockey left. Having spent the previous season in the Pittsburgh Penguins front office, Kessel’s comeback will be one of the hot storylines of the season. 

Previous professional stops saw Kessel rack up numerous assists, her skills as as a solid playmaker shining on the ice. Considering that Boston struggled offensively in the Walter Cup Finals, a player of Kessel’s magnitude ensures better results in another deep playoff run. 

17: Montreal – Allyson Simpson 

Continuing to address the blueline, Montreal finds a highly dependable player in Colgate’s Allyson Simpson. Capable of providing much-needed physical play on defense, the right handed shot is also versatile enough to show offensive ability. Although Simpson will likely see more time in her rookie season as a stay at home blueliner, her reliability should translate well in big game situations. 

18: Toronto – Sara Hjalmarsson 

Adding a skilled forward that also provides physical play, Sara Hjalmarsson should quickly become a fan favorite in Toronto. A member of Team Sweden at the 2022 Olympics, the most admirable element of her game is the ability to block shots. 

Having recently served as the captain of Linkoping, Hjalmarsson also starred at the NCAA level with Providence, winning the Hockey East Best Defensive Forward Award in 2023. The two-way aspect of Hjalmarsson’s game can see her excel on any line, making her a valued forward. 

Round Four

19: New York – Gwyneth Phillips 

The finest goaltender available in the Draft, Phillips represents a shrewd move for New York. With Corinne Schroeder eligible for free agency, the Northeastern star and Team USA goalie would fill a huge gap. 

Even if New York retains Schroeder, selecting Phillips is still worthwhile. The duo would give New York the league’s best goalie tandem, greatly improving their postseason chances.

20: Ottawa – Megan Carter 

With a focus on improving the defense, Ottawa finds a solid pick with Megan Carter. Having served as the captain of the Northeastern Huskies, her character is best exemplified by the NCAA Elite 90 Award three years in a row. Capable of strong physical play, Carter can also move the puck, able to create offense. Also a tenacious shot blocker, Ottawa’s defensive unit benefits greatly.

21: Minnesota – Hadley Hartmetz 

Finding another star from the national champion Buckeyes, Hartmetz blends perfectly into the Minnesota defense. Having never missed a game for Ohio State, including an impressive 41 appearances this past season en route to the Frozen Four, the best word to describe Hartmetz is durable. Also capable as a shot blocker, Hartmetz could prove highly effective on special teams. 

22: Boston – Anna Meixner 

Recognized as the MVP of the SDHL, Meixner is ready to shine across the Atlantic. A member of Austria’s national team, the 29 year old is a swift skater with good puck handling ability. Eager to prove that she can excel in North America after an accomplished career in Europe, Meixner will definitely bring plenty of heart.

23: Montreal – Dara Greig 

An ideal fit on the checking line, Greig is a character player with a strong work ethic. A second generation player, whose father, Mark, spent nine seasons in the NHL, Greig won a national championship with Wisconsin. Averaging a little over a point per game during her NCAA career, she should prove to be a versatile player in the pros.

24: Toronto – Kayle Osborne 

With Phillips off to New York, Toronto reacts by strengthening their goaltending situation with the selection of Kayle Osborne. The MVP of the 2024 ECAC Tournament, Osborne proved crucial in Colgate reaching the Frozen Four. Opening the 23-24 season with a 30-save performance in a 3-2 win versus No. 2 ranked Ohio State, Osborne can excel in big game situations.

Although Kristen Campbell is clearly the number one, she was definitely the league’s busiest goalie. Appearing in 22 of 24 regular season games, an element of fatigue might have factored in the playoffs. Osborne will lighten the load while providing Toronto with a highly promising star. 

Round Five

25: New York – Ilona Markova

Although the Russian forward might be considered a project, as physical play may be a question mark, it is a risk worth taking for New York. Landing a skater with good on-ice vision, reputed for her quick release, Markova could take on a sniper role. With the chance of possibly playing alongside Alexandra Carpenter or Fillier, the offensive production should impress. 

26: Ottawa – Mae Batherson 

The younger sister of Ottawa Senators forward Drake Batherson, serendipity sees Mae start her pro career in the Capital. Definitely a value pick, she is a strong shot blocker, while capable of offensive punch. Also an All-Academic selection while at Syracuse, the former CHA Rookie of the Year can be counted upon to maintain her strong work ethic in the pros. 

27: Minnesota – Madeline Wethington 

Belonging to a long line of star players from the famed Golden Gophers program, Wethington is ready for the pros. Highly cerebral, the homegrown talent is a shot blocking specialist, bringing a steady and reliable presence. 

28: Boston – Sydney Bard

In a Draft with so much defensive talent available, a handful of prospects may slip a round or two. With Bard still available, Boston finds a gem. Among the leaders of a Colgate Raiders squad that reached the Frozen Four, her hallmark is consistency. Having missed just one game in five seasons, the 5’4″ blueliner is fearless on the ice. With a strong hockey-IQ, capable of moving the puck, while showing a physical element, the strong attention to detail makes Bard a future star. 

29: Montreal – Klara Peslarova 

With a pair of goaltenders off the board in the fourth round, Montreal finds an ideal backup to Ann-Renee Desbiens in Peslarova. With the prospect of potentially losing Elaine Chuli in free agency, good goaltending is critical. Not only a fixture on Czechia’s national team, she has been a consistent performer in Sweden, standing between the pipes for MoDo and Brynas IF. 

30: Toronto – Rylind MacKinnon 

The first competitor from U Sports ice hockey selected in the draft, MacKinnon brings a significant physical presence to Toronto. Measuring in at 5′ 10″, she served as team captain for the UBC Thunderbirds, enjoying multiple Canada West championships. 

Recognized as UBC’s Female Athlete of the Year in 2022, the same year saw her win the Canada West Defender of the Year. Showing offensive ability in 2023-24, leading all Canada West blueliners in points, McKinnon holds the potential to be the steal of the Draft. 

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