New York selects Princeton, Canadian national team forward Sarah Fillier with 1st pick in PWHL draft


New York filled a necessary need on offense by selecting Princeton and Canadian national team forward Sarah Fillier with the first pick in the Professional Women’s Hockey League draft on Monday night.

Regarded by PWHL scouts as a “generational player,” Fillier is a three-time Patty Kazmaier college player of the year finalist. She graduated with a degree in psychiatry and completed her four-year career at Princeton ranking sixth on the school list with 93 goals and fourth with 193 points in 120 games.

From outside of Toronto, Fillier won gold at the 2022 Beijing Games, where she finished second in the tournament with eight goals, and was also a member of three Canadian world championship teams.

Fillier, who turned 24 on Sunday, was projected to be the No. 1 pick and joins a New York franchise in flux, with Colgate’s Greg Fargo taking over as coach after the team went 9-12-3 to finish last in the standings. Fargo replaces Howie Draper, who reached a mutual agreement to stay on as a special advisor while returning to coach at the University of Alberta.

A PWHL Hockey Operations scouting report praised Fillier for her speed and play-making ability, while noting: “Her game sense makes her a threat to create scoring in a variety of ways, and will upgrade a team’s power play immediately.”

New York lacked an offensive presence beyond U.S. national team member Alex Carpenter, who finished tied for second in the league with 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists). Defenseman Ella Shelton was New York’s only other player to top 15 points in finishing with 21, including seven goals.

New York was also over-reliant on goaltender of the year finalist Corinne Schroeder, who finished 7-7 while facing 511 shots — the third-most in the league.

The franchise also had difficulty making a dent in the New York market, in part because of splitting its home games between three sites — Bridgeport, Connecticut; Long Island; and Newark, New Jersey.

Despite the challenges, Fillier looked forward to being drafted by New York.

“I think anyone who ends up in New York is going to be lucky to be there. New York is an iconic sports city,” Filler told The Associated Press last week. “They have some really talented young players, a lot of national team experience.”

Fillier is coming off a career-best 30-goal season in which she adapted her style to be more of a shooting threat to lead a young Tigers team in transition.

New York’s roster includes Canadian national team members such as Micah Zandee-Hart, Jill Saulnier, Jaime Bourbonnais and former U.S. national team forward Abby Roque.

New York opened 5-4-1 before enduring 1-8-2 slump, and finished the year allowing a league-high 67 goals in 24 games.

Ottawa holds the second pick in the PWHL’s second draft, followed by league champion and draft host Minnesota, which finished fourth in the standings. Boston, Montreal and Toronto round out the order of the six-team, seven-round draft.

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AP Women’s Hockey: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-hockey



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