Toronto NWHL have announced that they’ve traded their 2020 1st round pick (1st overall) and their 2020 5th round pick (29th overall) to the Boston Pride. In return, they’ll get the Pride’s 2020 1st round pick (6th overall), 2021 1st round pick, and 2021 2nd round pick.
At first, this trade seems a bit iffy, but it might be best if we break this down.
Why Trade the Top Pick?
At first, you might be thinking. Why would Toronto, an expansion team, just trade away the 1st overall pick? Here’s the thing. Drafting a player doesn’t guarantee that they’ll sign for you. So while the team has their NWHL rights, the draftee is free to sign in other leagues.
In a league like the NHL, you won’t see the first overall pick sign in, say, the SHL, instead. However, the NWHL isn’t in that position at the moment. They’re notably facing a significant amount of competition. Most notably? The PWHPA, where it’s likely we’ll see at least a few draftees depart. The PWHPA isn’t the only alternate route. Leagues like the SDHL are options, and some players opt to return to their colleges.
Drafting players doesn’t mean they’re super likely to play for the team that drafted them. Some teams will opt to draft local talent, in order to convince them to stay close to come.
Related: NWHL Announces Toronto Expansion
Toronto’s End of the Deal
Toronto’s NWHL team enters this draft in a great position. They’ve already been able to lure free agents using their location and personnel from the PWHPA. They’ll likely rely on that to build most of their roster.
There’s also the fact that they do have a lot of options. Toronto could use the same points they’ve used to land free agents to land draftees. As the only Canadian team in the NWHL, it’s likely that Toronto could end up being a hotspot for top Canadian talent.
With this trade, Toronto only downgrades a few spots, to not only land an extra 1st next year but also getting a 2nd in the process. Toronto’s banking on most teams to follow the “draft local” plan, likely leaving Toronto with the player of their choice nonetheless.
With their pick, Toronto NWHL selected Jaycee Gebhard. The Canadian has been a top-two scorer at Robert Morris University during her entire 4-season NCAA career. She’s led the team in scoring for the last two seasons. RMU has finished near the top of the CHA during Gebhard’s entire NCAA career, finishing 1st the first three seasons, and finishing 2nd this season. She leaves the program as their all-time leading scorer, with 198 points in 139 games. The 22-year-old is a very solid player for the team to build around, and it looks like they got the player of their choice despite trading down.
Boston’s End of the Deal
Boston absolutely RAN through the NWHL this season. They went 23-1(!), with a +77 goal differential. They’re going to want to repeat that. Their core is likely going to be kept together.
The next piece? A draftee that can immediately step into the lineup.
Boston has determined that piece to be Sammy Davis.
Davis has captained Boston University for the past two years. Her 41 points were tops on the team this season, and her career-best 52 points put her at 2nd last season. She led BU to 2nd in Hockey East this season, and the speedy winger is sure to be a key piece for the Pride next season.
She leaves Boston University with a number of accolades, including 4x Hockey East All-Academic Team honours, being named to the 2018-19 Hockey East Second Team All-Star team, and being named to the 2019-20 Hockey East First Team All-Star Team.
Davis adds on to a stacked Boston team, as they’ll begin their quest to be on top of the league… again.
Who Won the Trade?
The thing with draft pick trades is that we’ll probably only see the fruits of the trade a couple of seasons later.
I’ll leave with this though. Both teams got exactly what they needed in this trade. Boston secured another key player for their championship-calibre team. Toronto got a key player while also securing two high-round picks next season. Feels like a win-win to me!
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