As the CWHL enters its tenth season, the league has released its list of 2016 draft prospects. There are several names on the list that might be familiar to fans of the NWHL, in that the pool includes former Buffalo Beauts rostered players, as well as a pair of Buffalo’s 2015 NWHL draft picks.
Topping the list is one of the most dynamic forwards to come out of NCAA women’s hockey this season. Sarah Lefort has left an incredible legacy at Boston University. In 2015, Lefort broke the career goals record (91) and career points record (183,) both of which previously held by Canadian superstar Marie-Philip Poulin. In her senior season with the Terriers, Lefort managed more than a point per game (13 goals, 22 assists in 34 games.)
“[I] put her in that type of category with the highest compliments and some of the best scoring abilities.” – Brian Durocher, BU head coach
Lefort had originally been drafted by the Buffalo Beauts of the NWHL in their 2015 draft. The Beauts could have used Lefort’s size and especially her scoring prowess. In an interview with Daily Free Press, Brian Durocher (Lefort’s coach at Boston University) described her perfectly.
“She’s obviously a fantastic power wing,” he told the website. “Not that she doesn’t have hands or a great skill set, but she really is a kid who plays hard on the wall, plays hard up and down the wing, plays hard at the front of the net, shoots the puck extremely well – again – always brings her assertive play to every single game, but [I] put her in that type of category with the highest compliments and some of the best scoring abilities.”
Whether the team failed to make a desirable offer to Lefort or the Canadian forward had her mind set on returning to Canada remains unknown. It is very likely that Lefort hopes to reunite with Poulin, who she played with at BU and has also spent time with while in the Canadian National Team program.
The Quebec native is a natural selection for the already-dominant Les Canadiennes de Montreal. Though Les Canadiennes lost the Clarkson Cup final matchup to the Calgary Inferno, the Montreal club had only three losses in the regular season. Their success was largely based
Their success was largely based in offensive dominance – Les Canadiennes had four players over thirty points, led by Poulin with 46.
Lefort would make Les Canadiennes unstoppable. She would most likely land in the team’s top six, and could challenge for a spot in the the top for five league-wide scoring in her rookie season. The young powerhouse would add an interesting depth to an already big team. Aside from Ann-Sophie Bettez, Les Canadiennes leading scorers are all 5”7’ or taller. With Lefort’s 5”7’, 165lb frame, the remaining four teams of the CWHL will have another powerful body to contend with. In front of the net, in the corners, on the boards – Lefort would be just another weapon in an arsenal unmatched by any other team in the league.
Aside from Ann-Sophie Bettez, Les Canadiennes leading scorers are all 5”7’ or taller. With Lefort’s 5”7’, 165 pound frame, the remaining four teams of the CWHL will have another powerful body to contend with. In front of the net, in the corners, on the boards — Lefort would be just another weapon in an arsenal unmatched by any other team in the league.
Buffalo’s loss is the CWHL’s gain, and more than likely is Montreal’s key to returning to the Clarkson Cup championship. Their goaltending was sharp in 2015; Charline Labonte led the rest of the league in goals against by a full goal per game. Adding more size and more scoring to what is inarguably the league’s best team is a dangerous combination for fans of any other team of the 10-year old league.
There are a lot of names on the CWHL’s draft list, and every team has the opportunity to improve itself with their selections, but Lefort to Les Canadiennes could remove parity from the league almost entirely.