With the 2013 NHL Draft quickly approaching, draft and prospect talk is starting to heat up. There is a plethora of talent in NCAA women’s hockey that fans and experts would also be analyzing, if only those players were eligible. Here is a hypothetical look at how the first 30 picks would go if NHL teams were choosing from a pool of only NCAA women’s players.
Round One, Mock Draft
#1, Colorado Avalanche: Amanda Kessel, Junior, Forward, Minnesota
2012-2013 stats: 38 GP, 46 G, 55 A, 101 P
There are a few different star-caliber players in this draft but the Avs can’t ignore Kessel’s breath-taking ability. Her speed and enormous offensive potential are the selling points for Colorado.
#2, Florida Panthers: Jocelyne Lamoureux, Senior, Forward, North Dakota
2012-2013 stats: 39 GP, 35 G, 46 A, 81 P
The NCAA’S second-all-time leading scorer is strong on the puck, possesses great vision, and has a great two-way game. Her physical presence will also definitely help her succeed at the NHL level.
#3, Tampa Bay Lightning: Monique Lamoureux, Senior, Forward/Defense, North Dakota
In a perfect world, she ends up on the same team as her twin sister, but unfortunately this isn’t a perfect world. She didn’t put up the same numbers as Jocelyne as she spent more than half her career on defense, but she’s got top-notch goal-scoring ability and plays the same physical brand of hockey.
#4, Nashville Predators: Marie-Philip Poulin, Junior, Forward, Boston University
2012-2013 stats: 35 GP, 19 G, 36 A, 55 P
Her elite offensive skillset is something the Predators desperately need. The fact that she’s one of the best two-way players in the world also makes her a perfect fit.
#5, Carolina Hurricanes: Brianna Decker, Senior, Forward, Wisconsin
2012-2013 stats: 35 GP, 29 G, 26 A, 55 P
She had a bit of a down year points-wise as she was charged with carrying the Badgers’ entire offense, but her talent was on display at the 2013 World Championships, where she led Team USA in scoring. Her dangerous skillset makes her a great pick-up for Carolina.
#6, Calgary Flames: Megan Bozek, Senior, Defense, Minnesota
2012-2013 stats: 41 GP, 20 G, 37 A 57 P
The Flames take easily the best defenseman in the draft with their first pick. Bozek’s fantastic all-around game will have her anchoring Calgary’s defense for years to come.
#7, Edmonton Oilers: Noora Räty, Senior, Goaltender, Minnesota
2012-2013 stats: 36 GP, .956 save %, 0.96 GAA, 17 SO
Edmonton decides to shore up its goaltending problems by selecting one of the best women’s goalies in the world. Räty’s consistency and game-stealing abilities are too tempting for the Oilers to pass up on.
#8, Buffalo Sabres: Hannah Brandt, Freshman, Forward, Minnesota
2012-2013 stats: 41 GP, 33 G, 49 A, 82 P
With only one year of college hockey experience, Brandt’s not as well-established as the players picked before her, but the offensive tools are all there. She can make a play from anywhere on the ice, due in large part to both her vision and net-front presence, which bodes well for the Sabres, who have some holes that they need to address in their top-six.
#9, New Jersey Devils: Alex Carpenter, Sophomore, Forward, Boston College
2012-2013 stats: 37 GP, 32 G, 38 A, 70 P
The Devils decide to keep it all in the family by selecting Carpenter, the daughter of former Devil Bobby Carpenter. Quietly one of the most consistent players in the country, Alex is a very good all-around player with plenty of offensive upside who really came into her own this year.
#10, Dallas Stars: Kendall Coyne, Sophomore, Forward, Northeastern
2012-2013 stats: 34 GP, 37 G, 31 A, 68 P
The Stars pick up a feisty scorer with star potential in Coyne. She’s got insane speed and, despite being on the shorter side, knows how to win battles in the dirty areas to create offense and score goals.
#11, Philadelphia Flyers: Alex Rigsby, Junior, Goaltender, Wisconsin
2012-2013 stats: 35 GP, .943 save %, 1.49 GAA, 7 SO
Räty may be off the board, but the Flyers still decide to pick a goaltender, as they desperately need some stability in net. Rigsby will offer just that; she’s about as close to a guaranteed bona-fide starter as they’ll be able to get.
#12, Phoenix Coyotes: Michelle Karvinen, Junior, Forward, North Dakota
2012-2013 stats: 27 GP, 18 G, 29 A, 47 P
A lack of elite offensive talent has been an issue for the Coyotes, but Karvinen will help take care of that. The speedy, crafty forward has that kind of potential and has already shown game-changing abilities, especially while playing for the Finnish National Team.
#13, Winnipeg Jets: Brianne Jenner, Junior, Forward, Cornell
2012-2013 stats: 32 GP, 35 G, 35 A, 70 P
She took a huge step forward this year, becoming one of the NCAA’s most proficient scorers. She could be an important player on the Jets’ top two lines in the future.
#14, Columbus Blue Jackets: Kelly Babstock, Junior, Forward, Quinnipiac
2012-2013 stats: 36 GP, 28 G, 27 A, 55 P
Columbus decides to go with a dominant scorer in Babstock, who’s got plenty of skill and natural goal-scoring ability but has had some consistency issues.
#15, New York Islanders: Lauriane Rougeau, Senior, Defense, Cornell
2012-2013 stats: 34 GP, 7 G, 20 A, 27 P
The Islanders take the steady defensive defenseman, who’s one of the best in the world at what she does and also has some sneaky offensive skill. She’ll be a great addition to their blue line.
#16, Buffalo Sabres (from Minnesota): Erin Ambrose, Freshman, Defense, Clarkson
2012-2013 stats: 34 GP, 6 G, 30 A, 36 P
Having already taken one of the best offensive talents on the board, the Sabres now decide to select one of the best defensive prospects in Ambrose, who showed tremendous poise in her first college season at both ends of the rink and still has plenty of potential to tap into.
#17, Ottawa Senators: Jamie Lee Rattray, Junior, Forward, Clarkson
2012-2013 stats: 36 GP, 22 G, 30 A, 52 P
She has helped carry Clarkson’s offense for three years now, showing top-six potential, as well as the ability to protect the puck well and dominate along the boards.
#18, Detroit Red Wings: Michelle Picard, Sophomore, Defense, Harvard
2012-2013 stats: 34 GP, 4 G, 13 A, 17 P
Picard stepped up to anchor Harvard’s defense as only a sophomore after injuries to top-four defensemen Josephine Pucci and Marissa Gedman. She’s got great upside, and her leadership, smarts, and defensive awareness are assets that the Wings will love.
#19, Columbus Blue Jackets (from NY Rangers): Christine Bestland, Junior, Forward, Mercyhurst
2012-2013 stats: 37 GP, 28 G, 44 A, 72 P
Bestland was the fourth-leading scorer in the country this year, but playing against weaker competition in the CHA hurt her stock. The Blue Jackets are more than willing to take her this late in the first round, however, as she definitely has a promising offensive skillset.
#20, San Jose Sharks: Mira Jalosuo, Senior, Defense, Minnesota
2012-2013 stats: 41 GP, 11 G, 19 A, 30 P
The Sharks, who are in desperate need of quality defensemen both in their prospect pool and on their roster, decide to go with the steady blue-liner out of Minnesota. She’ll be a great complement to any partner in the top-four, and her size certainly won’t hurt her chances of succeeding in the NHL.
#21, Toronto Maple Leafs: Josefine Jakobsen, Sophomore, Forward, North Dakota
2012-2013 stats: 37 GP, 16 G, 26 A, 42 P
The flashy European forward has great hands and room to grow offensively. She projects to be a productive player and will help bolster the Leafs’ top-six.
#22, Calgary Flames (from St. Louis): Meghan Dufault, Freshman, Forward, North Dakota
2012-2013 stats: 38 GP, 19 G, 22 A, 41 P
Dufault was second only to Hannah Brandt in rookie scoring after January 1st. She’s got significant scoring upside and could even have star potential, depending on how her development goes, coaxing the Flames to take her here.
#23, Washington Capitals: Haley Skarupa, Freshman, Forward, Boston College
2012-2013 stats: 33 GP, 24 G, 29 A, 53 P
The Capitals go with the Rockville, Md., native who’s already proven to be a potent scorer for the Eagles. With just one year of college hockey under her belt, the upside here is huge for Washington.
#24, Vancouver Canucks: Courtney Burke, Freshman, Defense, Wisconsin
2012-2013 stats: 35 GP, 4 G, 19 A, 23 P
She is without a doubt one of the most skilled defensemen on the board, and as long as her game matures properly, she’ll figure in prominently as a puck-mover and potential power play quarterback for the Canucks.
#25, Montreal Canadiens: Jillian Saulnier, Sophomore, Forward, Cornell
2012-2013 stats: 30 GP, 10 G, 33 A, 43 P
Her goal totals may have dropped this year, but her vision and puck skills were still on display, and she figures to be a play-maker on Montreal’s top two lines.
#26, Anaheim Ducks: Jillian Dempsey, Senior, Forward, Harvard
2012-2013 stats: 34 GP, 24 G, 21 A, 45 P
The gritty, two-way forward may not have huge upside, but she has top-nine potential. The Ducks are getting a great team player who’s relentless in front of the net.
#27, Columbus Blue Jackets (from Los Angeles): Jenna McParland, Sophomore, Forward, Minnesota-Duluth
2012-2013 stats: 33 GP, 11 G, 17 A, 28 P
The Jackets take a flier on McParland, who regressed statistically after her freshman year. But that was at least partly due to her being injured for a good chunk of the season, and she has above-average goal-scoring ability, so Columbus is willing to take the risk.
#28, Calgary Flames (from Pittsburgh): Laura Fortino, Senior, Defense, Cornell
2012-2013 stats: 34 GP, 5 G, 16 A, 21 P
After a very promising first three seasons in Ithaca, Fortino’s progression seemed to plateau completely, resulting in a sizable drop in her stock. But if she can get back to the level she’s shown to be capable of playing at, this could be a steal for the Flames.
#29, Dallas Stars (from Boston): Brigette Lacquette, Sophomore, Defense, Minnesota-Duluth
2012-2013 stats: 34 GP, 8 G, 16 A, 24 P
The Stars grab a very good defensive prospect who’s mature beyond her years. She’s logged very tough minutes for the Bulldogs in her first two seasons and will spend the upcoming year vying for a spot on the 2014 Canadian Olympic roster.
#30, Chicago Blackhawks: Madison Packer, Junior, Forward, Wisconsin
2012-2013 stats: 35 GP, 18 G, 19 A, 37 P
The Wisconsin forward is tough as nails and plays with an edge. She’s got some sneaky offensive abilities, too, and projects as a top-nine forward who brings some great physical tools to the table.
Amanda Boulier, Sophomore, Defense, St. Lawrence: The smooth, puck-moving defenseman had a break-out sophomore season, posting point totals that ranked in the top-50 nationally. She projects to be a solid top-four pick-up.
Emily Field, Sophomore, Forward, Boston College: The Eagles forward boasts top-six potential, and even if she doesn’t have the ability to be consistently dominant, her talent will easily help bolster any team’s line-up.
Lyndsey Fry, Junior, Forward, Harvard: She won’t put up huge numbers but she offers a nice combination of skill and physical presence, and she’s got a nose for the net.
Sarah Lefort, Freshman, Forward, Boston University: She was a very proficient goal-scorer for the Terriers as a rookie, and offers huge upside to whichever team selects her.
Josephine Pucci, Senior, Defense, Harvard: She missed the entire 2012-2013 season due to a concussion, which may scare some teams, but when she’s at the top of her game, she’s a workhorse on the back-end.
Gabriella is now in her third season of covering NCAA and international women’s hockey for The Hockey Writers. She is the founding editor of At Even Strength, a website dedicated to providing full-time coverage and analysis of women’s hockey. She is currently working towards a degree in Communication at the University of North Dakota, and is also interning with UND Athletic Media Relations. She can be reached on Twitter (@gabfun) or via e-mail (gfundaro10 [at] gmail [dot] com).