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Desbiens, Rossman Taken in 2016 NWHL Draft

The National Women’s Hockey League held their second junior draft this past Saturday. Each of the four teams choose from among players who will be NCAA seniors next season. The draft goes 5 rounds. The NWHL draft is not binding on players, who may sign with any NWHL team after a very brief exclusive negotiating window expires (this season it was only one month.) Should a team sign another team’s draftee, they owe the original drafting team a $2000 “draft tax” allowance applied to the salary cap.

Ann-Renee Desbiens (University of Wisconsin) is widely regarded as best goalie among this season’s eligibles. Taken by the Boston Pride with their first pick (#4), Desbiens posted a .931 in 3 games for Team Canada at the Women’s World Championship in 2015. The Quebec-born Desbiens also played one game for the Montreal Stars of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League in 2012 before heading to the NCAA. This season at Wisconsin, she posted a .960 save percentage, a 0.76 GAA, and 18 shutouts in 38 games.  She was a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award.

Sydney Rossman (Quinnipiac University) also had an award-winning year, winning ECAC Goalie of the Year and the ECAC Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. In 38 games with Quinnipiac this season, she posted a .949 save percentage and a 0.90 GAA, as well as 16 shutouts. Rossman, an Excelsior, Minnesota, native, was picked in the 5th round by the Connecticut Whale, who didn’t draft a goaltender last year.

It will be some time before we can know the intentions of any of the players drafted this year. Because of NCAA rules, players do not declare themselves for the NWHL draft, and there is a tendency for Canadian players with ties to the Canadian National Team to move to the CWHL instead of the NWHL.

This is what has already happened with Emerance Maschmeyer, who was drafted by the Boston Pride in 2015. Maschmeyer applied for the CWHL draft in April, just after the World Championships, essentially asserting her intent to play in Canada rather than in the NWHL. As things stand now, there is a possibility that Desbiens could join the Canadian league in 2017-18.


About The Author

Clare Austin

Clare Austin is a reluctant "stats nerd" living in Nashville, where she has never worn a cowboy hat or boots.