A recent sponsored Facebook post alerted me to the fact that the Buffalo Beauts of the National Women’s Hockey League had just signed their first player, team USA goaltender Brianne McLaughlin. Well that’s awesome and all, but who are the Buffalo Beauts and what in the world is the NWHL?
I decided to dig deeper. I learned that the NWHL is a brand new women’s professional hockey league, with the inaugural puck drop scheduled for this October, and that the Buffalo Beauts are one of the first four teams, along with the Boston Pride, Connecticut Whale, and the New York Riveters. The Beauts will be playing their home games at the brand new HarborCenter, directly across the street from First Niagara Center where the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres call home.
The first NWHL Draft took place last month, and the teams are in the process of signing players to contracts. This is a milestone for women’s hockey as this is the first paid professional women’s hockey league in North America. The original idea Dani Rylan had was to bring a Canadian Women’s Hockey League team to New York, but ultimately she created the NWHL instead.
“We’re thrilled to be launching the first-ever paid professional women’s hockey league and creating a platform for these talented women,” says Rylan. “We look forward to helping the sport for the best players in the world, and giving these women a place to shine.”
The NWHL season will consist of 18 games per team, nine home and nine away, with the season lasting from October until March, including pre-season, an All-Star weekend, and the playoffs. The regular season starts October 17th with each team playing one game each weekend.
For more information on the NWHL, check out their website at NWHL.co.
INS: Kyle Connor (Pick 17, Youngstown, USHL), Jack Roslovic (Pick 25, USA U18, USHL), Jansen Harkins (Pick 47, Prince George, WHL), Erik Foley (Pick 78, Cedar Rapids, USHL), Michael Spacek (Pick 108, Pardubice, CZREP), Mason Appleton (Pick 168, Tri-City, USHL), Sami Niku (Pick 198, JYP 2, FIN 2), Matteo Gennaro (Pick 203, Prince Albert, WHL)
No losses and two big gains in Connor and Roslovic. Winnipeg’s prospects just keep getting stronger and stronger.
2015 DRAFT RATING: B+
INS: Ilya Samsonov (Pick 22, Magnitogorsk 2, RUS-JR), Jonas Siegenthaler (Pick 57, Zurich, SUI), Connor Hobbs (Pick 143, Regina, WHL), Colby Williams (Pick 173, Regina, WHL)
Drafting Samsonov, allows them to give him the time to develop, whilst thet still have Braden Holtby. Not the best of drafts, considering they only had four picks. But then again, not the worst either.
2015 DRAFT RATING: B-
INS: Brock Boeser (Pick 23, Waterloo, USHL), Guillaume Brisebois (Pick 66, Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL), Dmitry Zhukenov (Pick 114, Omsk 2, RUS-JR.), Carl Nevill (Pick 144, Sherbrooke, QMJHL), Adam Gaudette (Pick 149, Cedar Rapids, USHL), Lukas Jasek (Pick 174, Trinec, CZREP), Tate Olson (Pick 210, Prince George, WHL)
OUTS: Eddie Lack (Carolina Hurricanes)
Didn’t get nearly enough for Eddie Lack and now all hope lies with Jacob Markstrom as the next Goaltender behind Ryan Miller. Not the most impressive of drafts.
2015 DRAFT RATING: C-
INS: Mitch Marner (Pick 4, London, OHL), Travis Dermott (Pick 34, Erie, OHL), Jeremy Bracco (Pick 61, USA U18, USHL), Andrew Nielsen (Pick 65, Lethbridge, WHL), Martins Dzierkals (68, Riga 2, RUS-JR.), Jesper Lindgren (Pick 95, Modo Jr., SWE-JR.), Dmytro Timashov (Pick 125, Quebec, QMJHL), Stephen Desrocher (Pick Pick 155, Oshawa, OHL), Nikita Korostelev (Pick 185, Sarnia, OHL), Martin Marincin (Edmonton Oilers)
OUTS: Brad Ross (Edmonton Oilers)
Mike Babcock’s first draft as Leafs head coach has turned out ot be very successful. Dermott is a steal at 34 and gives the Leafs a nice prospect D and Marner is a great pick at 4. Add in Marincin to your prospect D core and fans in Toronto have reason to get excited about their back end future.
2015 DRAFT RATING: A-
INS: Mitchell Stephens (Pick 33, Saginaw, OHL), Matthew Spencer (Pick 44, Peterborough, OHL), Dennis Yan (Pick 64, Shawinigan, QMJHL), Anthony Cirelli (Pick 72, Oshawa, OHL), Janne Tammela (Pick 118, Kalpa, FIN), Mathieu Joseph (Pick 120, Saint John, QMJHL), Ryan Zuhlsdorf (Pick 150, Sioux City, USHL), Kristiian Oldham (Pick 153, Omaha, USHL), Bokondji Imama (Pick 180, Saint John, QMJHL)
The Stanley Cup finalists have their squad pretty much set, so there was no need to trade for anything. A solid enough draft, without too much hassle.
2015 DRAFT RATING: C
INS: Vince Dunn (Pick 56, Niagara, OHL), Adam Musil (Pick 94, Red Deer, WHL), Glenn Gawdin (Pick 116, Swift Current, WHL), Niko Mikkola (Pick 127, Kalpa Jr., FIN-JR.), Luke Opilka (Pick 146, USA U18, USHL), Liam Dunda (Pick 176, Owen Sound, OHL)
No first round picks and nothing exciting on the trade front. With Tarasenko and Jake Allen needing contracts in Free Agency, it seems they had other matters on their mind.
2015 DRAFT RATING: C
INS: Timo Meier (Pick 9, Halifax, QMJHL), Jeremy Roy (Pick 31, Sherbrooke, QMJHL), Mike Robinson (Pick 86, Lawrence Academy, HIGH-MA), Adam Helewka (Pick 106, Spokane, WHL), Karlis Cukstel (Pick 130, Riga 2, RUS-JR.), Rudolfs Balcers (Pick 142, Stavanger, NOR), Adam Parsells (Pick 160, Wausau West, HIGH-WI), Marcus Vela (Pick 190, Langley, BCHL), John Kupsky (Pick 193, Lone Star, NAHL)
OUTS: Antti Niemi (Dallas Stars)
Trading away Niemi to Dallas for only a 7th round pick, is not a good return for them at all. Sure, they drafted Timo Meier, who could make a good tandem with Logan Couture down the line, but trading Niemi, leaves just Alex Stalock in net and I’m not sure he’s ready to be the starter.
2015 DRAFT RATING: C-
INS: Daniel Sprong (Pick 46, Charlottetown, QMJHL), Dominik Simon (Pick 137, Plzen, CZREP), Frederik Tiffels (Pick 167, Western Michigan, NCHC), Nikita Pavlychev (Pick 197, Des Moines, USHL)
A nice addition in Sprong and an inquiry to the Leafs about Phil Kessel. Not much else for the Pens this time round.
2015 DRAFT RATING: C+
INS: Ivan Provorov (Pick 7, Brandon, WHL), Travis Konecny (Pick 24, Ottawa, OHL), Felix Sandstrom (Pick 70, Brynas Jr., SWE-JR.), Matej Tomek (90, Topeka, NAHL), Samuel Dove-McFalls (Pick 9, Saint John, QMJHL), Mikhail Vorobyov (Pick 104, Ufa 2, RUS-JR.), David Kase (Pick 128, Chomutov, CZREP 2), Cooper Marody, Pick 158, Sioux Falls, USHL), Ivan Fedotov (Pick 188, Nizhmekamsk 2, RUS-JR.) Sam Gagner (Arizona Coyotes)
OUTS: Nicklas Grossmann (Arizona Coyotes), Chris Pronger (Arizona Coyotes)
Drafting a future defensive prospect in Provorov is one, but drafting Konecny as well, means the first round picks weren’t wasted. Add to the fact that they somehow got rid of the Pronger contract and it turned out to be a good draft for the Flyers.
2015 DRAFT RATING: B+