The NWHL draft took place across two nights, on April 28th and 29th. This is the first time since the inaugural NWHL draft that it took place during the offseason rather than mid-season. This changed things drastically for not only organizational purposes, but it gave teams the ability to freely talk to college seniors after their season ended. Instead of having to wait since they were still playing.
The Riveters only had four picks because they traded one away for goaltender Maria Sorokina over a year ago. Sorokina only played four games for the Riveters and as a result, they lost both their fifth round, and final pick in this 2020 draft. Despite this, they still had the most impressive draft of any team in the league.
Headed into the draft, the goal for the team should have been to take quality defense, a player than can fill a first-line center role, and possibly a good backup goalie. With only four picks to work with, that’s a tall order to fill, but the Rivs checked all of the boxes.
Saroya Tinker (Yale)
Their first-round pick was Saroya Tinker out of Yale. The Oshawa native is 5-foot-9 and in her senior season led the team in blocked shots with 54, as well as had 67 shots as a defender. She tallied 12 points but really played a traditional defensive role which is something the Riveters needed.
Delaney Belinskas (Boston College)
With their second pick, the Riveters shocked both the world and myself by selecting Delaney Belinskas out of Boston College. In the NWHL, most players still have full-time jobs outside of hockey and where they play is very dependent on where their jobs are. The Riveters benefit from playing driving distance to New York City. However, it is rare to see players leave Boston after college. If the Riveters can ink this signing, it will be huge for the team’s scoring.
Belinskas was third on the Eagles in points with 26 in 35 games, 20 of which were goals. This number led the team. She also led the team in shots and shorthanded goals, which are both places the Riveters would love to improve. She collected five game-winning points, and when she scored a goal her team was undefeated. Belinskas is an elite goal scorer that will make the Riveters’ first line lethal.
Tera Hoffman (Yale)
In the third round, Metropolitan took Tera Hoffman, a goaltender out of Yale. She had six shutouts in her senior season, including three consecutive at one point. In 11 games, she had a .903 save percentage and seven wins. It hasn’t been confirmed yet, but it’s likely that Sam Walther will return to the net for the Riveters.
In a league that is seeing it more popular to hold three goalies per team, I think Hoffman is a fantastic addition in the backup role. If Dana DeMartino is not re-signed, or they are planning on relying on Walther a little less, Hoffman is an incredible goalie to have play tandem with her.
Bridgette Prentiss (Franklin Pierce)
Finally, the Riveters made a huge move in the fourth round, taking Bridgette Prentiss out of Franklin Pierce University. It was widely assumed she would be drafted, but everyone guessed that would have been to her hometown team the Buffalo Beauts. This is a huge steal for the Riveters, as Prentiss captained her Ravens’ team during her senior season, as well as tallied 45 points in 31 games to lead the team in all scoring categories.
In years past, the draft didn’t lock any players into anything with their respective teams. We had seen players sign with other teams or not sign at all. While that is still a possibility this year, from the looks of things, there have been more conversations between teams and players leading me to believe most, if not all of these players will sign with their respective team. According to Marisa Ingemi, the first overall pick Sammy Davis has already signed with the Boston Pride.
If the Riveters do sign all of these players and given the roster, they have already built for next season, they will be a force to be reckoned with.