With the NCAA season over, several star senior players will be graduating and potentially moving on to the NWHL. How did the Buffalo Beauts draft picks fare in the last year of their college career? Let’s take a look.
Beauts 2015 Draft Class
Buffalo’s first round pick in the 2015 draft was Courtney Burke, a defensemen playing for the Wisconsin Badgers of the WCHA. Wisconsin had a standout season, winning the WCHA title in a close game versus Minnesota. Burke recorded 25 points in 28 games played with the Badgers in the 2015-2016 season. While the Beauts already have defensive powerhouses like Emily Pfalzer and Megan Bozek, Burke would be a nice addition on a blue line that struggled to find cohesion through the first half of the season.
For their second round pick, Buffalo selected forward from Boston University, Sarah Lefort. In her last season as a Terrier, Lefort managed 35 points in 34 games played. Even more impressively, in her four years at BU, she set program records for both goals and assists, with 91 and 183. Lefort would excel playing alongside likeminded offensive talents like Kelley Steadman and Meghan Duggan.
Going 12th overall in the draft, Amanda Leveille is the only goaltender Buffalo chose with their picks. Amanda Leveille has had an incredible season on top of a standout collegiate career, winning her third national championship with the Gophers this past weekend. Leveille made 32 stops in the Frozen Four final on Sunday, helping her Gophers find the win versus an undefeated Boston College. Leveille was the second best goaltender in the WCHA, ending the regular season with a 1.28 GAA and .941 save percentage. Buffalo found their starting goaltender in Brianne McLaughlin, but splitting duties between McLaughlin and Leveille could help immensely.
Captain of the Mercyhurst Lakers, Emily Janiga, was selected in the fourth round by the Beauts. Janiga’s 2015-2016 totals weren’t quite as high as previous seasons, but she did manage 22 points in 32 games her senior year. Her leadership skills, along with the promise of her previous seasons with the Lakers (she averaged around 40 points a season in her first three seasons), make her a promising prospect for Buffalo.
Last, but not least, Buffalo selected Emily Janiga’s Mercyhurst teammate, Jenna Dingledein. Like Janiga, Dingledein’s point totals this season (26 in 35 games played) did not match her previous totals. However, potentially playing with her former teammate(s) (Beauts goaltender Amanda Makela also played for the Lakers), could give her a boost in her play. Like Janiga, Dingledein really shined during crucial games towards the end of Mercyhurst’s season. The ability to come in clutch during important situations is a skill that should not be overlooked.
Takeaways? + Important Upcoming Dates
The Beauts 2015 draft class ranks in at a solid A-. They did really well in finding a standout goaltender, goal scorer, defenseman, and team leaders. While Buffalo already has a pretty solid defensive core, depth is always a necessity, and they could have benefited from drafting more than one defensemen. That being said, all five of these prospects are exciting, and would be great additions to a Beauts team that is only getting stronger.
Now that both the NCAA and NWHL seasons are done, it is easy to sink into that post-season sadness and boredom. Be not sad, however, because there are important NWHL events coming up!
May 1st – July 31st – NWHL Free Agency
June 18th – 2016 – Junior Draft
Make sure to keep an eye on Along the Boards, as we will continue to bring you NWHL news throughout the offseason.