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What Every PWHL Team Needs in the 2024 Free Agency Period

With the PWHL free agency underway, seeing where players end up will make for an exciting summer. Do top players re-sign or move on somewhere else? What is something that each club’s respective management staffs look to address? Here is a look at what all six PWHL teams should look for and consider as they bolster their lineups for year two. 

The PWHL Offseason Analysis Starts with Minnesota

The most significant area that the defending champions should target is stronger defenders. Apart from Sophie Jacques and Lee Stecklen, the defence could use a few stronger players to support the top pair. 

Minnesota has signed a few forwards to address some issues there. Defensively, there are a few options for this role. One such player could very well be Rylind MacKinnon, who went undrafted this year. Kayleigh Fratkin from Boston could be a good addition and add more veteran presence. Their draft picks also addressed defensive concerns, taking Claire Thompson at third and Mae Batherson at 33rd. Ideally, the perfect solution is someone who can play top minutes, play offence and defence well, and kill penalties. 


Boston recently re-signed Hannah Brandt, Sophie Shirley, Emily Brown, Sidney Morin, and Lexie Adzija. In addition to returning players, Boston should be on the lookout for more depth. They have a talented core and made some good draft picks, but they only scored 50 goals last season, the lowest in the entire league. 

Boston could pursue Jillian Dempsey, the former captain of the Boston Pride from the Premier Hockey Federation. Mikyla Grant-Mentis, due to her scoring abilities, would also be a welcomed addition. Both players are forwards, are older, and can contribute at a high level and hopefully assist Boston’s stars to score more points. 


One of the PWHL and Ottawa’s best players, Daryl Watts, signed with Toronto in 2024 free agency already. She was a big part of Ottawa’s top forward line, along with Brianne Jenner and Katerina Mrazova. Their top draft pick, Danielle Serdachny will fit somewhere in the top six. We will have to wait and see if she is enough to replace Watts. If not, Ottawa needs to go out and find a forward who can produce a lot of points. 

Grant-Mentis could work here, and Minnesota’s Michela Cava could too. Cava tied playoff MVP Taylor Heise in points during their championship run and would help Ottawa improve.

New York

New York’s focus is simple: to improve its defence compared to last season and either re-sign one of its existing backup goalies or find a new backup goalie.

Corinne Schroeder needs more support in front of the net to clear pucks out, break up plays, and shut down second-chance opportunities off rebounds. Abby Levy is not a bad option to remain the backup if she gets re-signed. New York can also shop around. Toronto’s Carly Jackson is available and could use a fresh start after seeing minimal minutes last season. Ottawa’s Sandra Abstreiter is also available to take. New York is looking for their redemption story, and it starts at those positions. 


Montreal’s most significant signing so far is locking up first-round draft pick Cayla Barnes for a three-year deal. What they need most is people who can score outside of Marie-Philip Poulin. Cava or New York’s Emma Woods would be welcomed additions. After stating that they do not want to play in Montreal, it will be interesting to see if Amanda Kessel or Abby Boreen attends training camp. 

Assuming they show up, Kessel and Boreen will bring some offence to the team. However, General Manager Daniele Sauvageau should not bank on that. She should prepare if they don’t show up for training camp so the team will be good with or without them on the roster. 

Main photo: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports


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