With the 2017 NWHL draft now only one day away, I thought I would have a look at the numbers behind the previous two drafts.

First of all, it is important to note that unlike the CWHL draft, players don’t sign up for the NWHL draft, they merely have to be eligible to be in with a chance of being drafted. This means, that as we will see, there are plenty of players who are drafted but choose not to sign with an NWHL team.

The first draft, held in Boston on the 20th June 2015, saw 20 players picked across 5 rounds. As the info-graphic shows, the draft consisted of 12 Americans and 8 Canadians, with Alex Carpenter being the 1st overall pick by the New York Riveters. The rights to Carpenter were traded to Boston in return for the rights to Miye D’Oench who was drafted 15th overall in the same year. Carpenter went on to finish 2nd in the league for scoring in the 2016/17 season and is now off on her Olympic duties.

A total of 10 of the 20 players drafted have signed a NWHL contact, 6 are playing in the CWHL and 4 aren’t playing their hockey in either league. Convincing players to come and sign with a team and play in the league was always going to be an uphill task for a start-up league. All things considered, a 50% conversion rate is not bad at all. Not surprisingly, the majority of the Canadian players drafted have opted for the CWHL, perhaps a hint that NWHL teams should focus on American born players if they want to convert draft picks into signings.


Moving forward a year to the 2016 draft, which was held on the 18th June 2016 in Brooklyn, saw a further 20 players drafted. Kelsey Koelzer was drafted 1st , the first pick once again by the New York Riveters, and signed a contract with them at the tail end of the season, she has since extended her contract for the upcoming season.

Only 4 of the 20 players drafted last year have signed NWHL contacts so far, however there is no need to worry quite yet. Many of the draft class of 2015 didn’t sign with a team straight away, most opted to sign a year after being drafted. Only time will tell how well the 2016 conversion rate from draft picks to contracts will be. It is worth noting that 5 players from Wisconsin were selected, yet none of these 5 have signed on with any team.

How will the 2017 draftees size up against the previous two years? This year the four teams have gone deep into the free agency pool to form their rosters, rather than other methods and so how they approach this draft will be very interesting to say the least…