The offseason is in full swing for the NWHL, and we are approaching that time where teams need to re-sign and (potentially) add some new players. For those that are unfamiliar, the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) is entering its fourth season. When it comes to the players, they can only be given one-year contracts for the time being, so that means everyone becomes a free agent. There is a restricted free agent period where all four teams are allowed to negotiate with players on their active rosters, which usually occurs around May. Once June hits, it becomes a free-for-all with the remaining players.
This profile will discuss goaltender Katie Fitzgerald—The 24-year old net minder had another stellar season for the Metropolitan Riveters, which had her finish as the runner-up for this year’s goaltender of the year award. During the Isobel Cup championship, she went 2-0 (both wins were shutouts) making 34 saves. To say the Riveters should re-sign her is an understatement. She won goaltender of the year in her rookie season, and her numbers were twice as good this past year. She was a major part in the Riveters 11-0 start to the 16-game season, going 12-3 with a 2.30 GAA, .903 SV%, and one shutout.
Her backup from this season was former Buffalo Beauts goaltender Kimberly Sass, who appeared in one game against the Connecticut Whale—a 3-2 overtime victory. She had a 1.86 GAA and .913 SV% that game, totaling 21 saves. She proved capable of being able to take the ropes, but of course would have to re-sign with Metropolitan as well. Some players may unexpectedly choose to retire from the league, as we have seen in the past. Having said that, most players will return for another year. If Fitzgerald chooses to return, there is no question she will be one of the first major signings for the Metropolitan Riveters this offseason.
Let’s also not forget we’re talking about the defending Isobel Cup Champions, who are going to look and keep as much of their roster intact as possible, even though it will be under a new head coach following the leave of Chad Wiseman. No potential candidates have been named at this time. It is uncertain as to whether the announcement will come before or after the NWHL draft. This is going to be an interesting offseason. Be on the lookout for more Riveters profiles during the restricted free agency period.