While superstars such as Alex Carpenter and Kendall Coyne shall dominate the headlines as likely first round picks in the inaugural NWHL Draft, the ability to draft a diamond in the rough may separate the champions from the contenders. Picks in later rounds not only provide depth, but the right pick can complement the superstar talent.
With no shortage of superb talent available, the acquisition of a possibly overlooked player in the third or fourth round can pay the championship dividends that Boston, Buffalo, Connecticut and New York are aspiring towards. Among the number of players available, the attributes of the following may meet such criteria:
Emily Janiga, Mercyhurst Lakers:
Hailing from East Aurora, New York, Janiga would be a superb fit for the Buffalo Beauts. Enjoying a breakout season in 2014-15, Janiga continues the proud tradition of elite offensive talent that has played for the Mercyhurst Lakers. Winning the College Hockey America scoring title, complemented by the Conference Player of the Year Award, she was the Lakers offensive catalyst.
Averaging at least 40 points per season with Mercyhurst, her most impressive stat may be the 11 power play goals that lead the CHA in 2014-15. In addition, the last two seasons have seen her rack up 272 shots on net. Quite possibly the most underrated star in the draft, Janiga would bring depth to an offensive unit, while providing consistent play.
Maryanne Menefee, Minnesota Golden Gophers:
Throughout her career with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Menefee has always played on the top offensive line. Joined by the likes of Amanda Kessel and Hannah Brandt in her freshman season, she has blossomed into a solid playmaker. Of note, she led all Gophers this past season with a .223 shot percentage. Logging a remarkable 15 multi-point games, including 11 points during a four-game scoring streak, she is a silent assassin, capable of surprising when least expected.
Having played in the NCAA Frozen Four title game in her first three seasons with the Gophers, Menefee is accustomed to big game situations. Named to the WCHA All-Academic Team, plus the NCAA Frozen Four All-Tournament Team, the 2015 NCAA Tournament was her coming-out party. Scoring the game-winning goal against Wisconsin in their Frozen Four match up, she would assist on Hannah Brandt’s title-winning goal in the final, part of a remarkable six point performance. Her ability to excel in key situations makes her poised to duplicate her success at the NWHL level.
Michelle Picard, Harvard Crimson:
Named one of the team captains for the Harvard Crimson, Picard’s blueline presence propelled the program to the championship game of the 2015 NCAA Frozen Four. A preseason All-ECAC nod, she is one of eight current Crimson players that once attended Noble and Greenough.
Possessing strong playmaking abilities, Picard registered assists in many key wins for the Crimson over the season. In the postseason, she would shine with a game-tying assist against Quinnipiac in the conference semis, while earning a pair of assists in the conference finals versus Cornell. Having played for the US U-22 team, plus the Senior Team in 2014, earning a silver medal with Team USA at the 2014 Four Nations Cup, Picard’s talents on the blueline would make her a key asset for any franchise.
Dana Trivigno, Boston College:
Among a number of highly talented players that compete for the Boston College Eagles in Hockey East play, Dana Trivigno provides an offensive flair to their defensive unit. The most recent season saw her log a career best 34 points, recording at least one point in 19 contests. Complemented by four game-winning goals, Trivigno has proven to excel in big situations.
A rising star in international hockey, she donned the USA jersey twice during the 2014-15 campaign. Earning a silver medal with the US at the Four Nations Cup, she would follow it up with a gold medal at the IIHF Women’s Worlds in Malmo, Sweden. Should Trivigno be reunited with Alex Carpenter at the NWHL level, the two would continue their dominance that has transformed Boston College into a national power.