Over a month into the 2024 PWHL season, the standings have taken shape. In the league’s first season, each team will play 24 regular season games. The regular season action runs through May 5. The 2024 playoffs will consist of a two-round best-of-five format with the top four teams. Playoffs will commence the week of May 6.
Fans have been delighted by PWHL action, with rules like the "jailbreak" for short-handed goals, the increased physicality of the league, and a bigger spotlight. As the six teams fight for a spot as one of the four teams in the first-ever PWHL playoffs, there’s surely a lot of action still to come. Here are the PWHL Power Rankings a third of the way through the season.
6. New York (11 points)
In the PWHL’s first season, New York has struggled. They lost both games in the fourth week of the season, dropping a game to Toronto and falling in overtime to Minnesota. Credit to New York for hanging tough and pulling one point out of that loss against a top team. New York did win their most recent game against Ottawa in overtime. They have one more point than Ottawa in the standings, but Ottawa has two games in hand.
New York’s depth hasn’t been as deep as expected, and this is perhaps what’s derailing their season so far. Bright spots for New York are goaltender Corinne Schroeder, forward Alex Carpenter, and defenseman Ella Shelton. Schroeder has a .943 save percentage in six games, Carpenter leads the league with 11 points and has 100 face-off wins, and Shelton leads PWHL defensemen with nine points. Aside from the three standouts, Jessie Eldridge and Jade Downie-Landry each have four goals. It’s time for other players to step up.
5. Ottawa (10 points)
PWHL Ottawa has only won two games so far, and they’re on a three-game losing streak. Although they’re last in points, one point behind Boston, Toronto, and New York right now, Ottawa has two games in hand on Toronto and New York. Ottawa has only lost one game in regulation. They continually put up a strong fight to make it to overtime, but they haven’t quite figured out 3-on-3 OT yet. Ottawa dropped another game in OT to New York in their most recent loss, but they're still above New York here because of how tough it is to beat Ottawa in 60 minutes.
No Ottawa players are in the top 10 in points. Lexie Adzija is the only one in the top ten in goals, with four. She leads the team with six points, while Savannah Harmon has four. Goaltending has been average. Emerance Maschmeyer has played all seven games, with a .914 SV%. Ottawa has been underwhelming so far, but they’re in a lot of close games. With how tight the standings are, there’s plenty of space for them to go on a tear.
4. Toronto (11 points)
Toronto had a hard time finding their stride, but they’ve won three of their last four games. They were 1-1 in the fourth week of the season, falling to Ottawa and beating New York. Their win over New York was a shutout. Toronto beat Minnesota 4-1 in their latest game, showing they can meet the moment against a top team. They’ve been gaining momentum.
What has Toronto struggled with? They’re allowing too many goals and not scoring enough. Natalie Spooner leads the league in goals, but no one else on Toronto’s roster appears in the top 20 in goals. Rebecca Leslie has contributed six assists this season and Jocelyne Larocque has four. Both of Toronto’s goalies have a sub .900 SV%. Their No. 1 goalie, Kristen Campbell, recently had a shutout against New York and posted a .960 SV% against Minnesota, hopefully indicators of flipping the script. Toronto is working on stepping up the production and tightening it up between the pipes.
3. Boston (11 points)
Boston has found chemistry among their lineup. The standings are pretty tight right now through the first third of the season, but Boston has shown a spark, winning two of their last three games. Stacking up against tough teams, Boston beat Minnesota in OT and lost to Montreal in OT. They’re tied in points with New York and Toronto, but Boston has two games in hand on both.
Alina Muller has been a rockstar for Boston. With nine points, she is tied for second in the league and is also tied for most assists in the league with seven. Boston’s depth has contributed to the scoresheet here and there, but they need someone to start scoring more goals. Loren Gabel is the only one who has scored more than two goals this season. Aerin Frankel has provided reliable goaltending aside from Boston’s opening game, with a .927 SV% in five games played. To take the next step, Boston needs to up their offense.
2. Minnesota (15 points)
PWHL Minnesota was the strongest team in the league over the first three weeks of play. They have fallen off a bit in the past couple of games, dropping three out of four, and need to get things back on track. Minnesota had been firing on all cylinders between offense, defense, and goaltending up until the past few games. So right now they're holding onto No. 2 in the Power Rankings, but they'll need to make adjustments to stay near the top as teams like Boston and Toronto heat up.
Four Minnesota players are in the top ten in points. Grace Zumwinkle is tied for second in the league with six goals. Lee Stecklein is second among defensemen with six points. Goalie Nicole Hensley has been very strong for Minnesota. She’s third in the league with a .934 SV%. What stands out about Minnesota is that their success has been a collective effort. It isn’t just the top names, as players are contributing up and down the lineup. First-overall draft pick Taylor Heise has seemingly cooled off, and Minnesota needs her to heat up again. A few games ago, Minnesota would have topped the list. A few dominant wins could send them back to the top.
1. Montreal (17 points)
Montreal is the top team in the league right now. Their chemistry is on point, the offense is gelling, their depth has been noticeable, and goaltending has been elite. Montreal is currently on a three-game winning streak. Their most recent game was an OT win over Boston. This team gave Minnesota a run for their money for the best in the league, and now, Montreal is leading the way.
Marie-Philip Poulin is second in the league with nine points and tied for second with six goals. She has 116 face-off wins, the most in the league. Elaine Chuli leads the league with a .962 SV% in three games played, and Ann-Renee Desbiens is fourth in the league with a .930 SV% with six games played. Defense is the area that sometimes gets Montreal in a bind. They give their opponents a lot of chances, and Montreal goalies need to make a lot of saves. If Montreal can limit their opponents’ shots, they’ll be in even better shape. Montreal is officially the team to beat.
As the season continues, all six teams will continue to battle for a playoff spot.