2024 PWHL Draft Recap: Boston
- 7 min read

2024 PWHL Draft Recap: Boston

2024 PWHL Draft Recap: Boston by Melissa Burgess

PWHL Boston filled in some gaps up front and on the blueline in the 2024 draft, including fourth-overall pick Hannah Bilka and highly-regarded defender Daniela Pejšová.

Draft Picks

Round #1: Hannah Bilka (F), 2001, (#4 overall) – As I noted in my mock draft for The Ice Garden, Bilka is a proven playmaker who doesn't hesitate to get involved physically. She played four years at BC, then made the jump to Ohio State and put up career-highs in goals (22) and points (48) surrounded by pure talent and skill. The Athletic calls her "one of the most smooth and creative forwards in the game right now," while the PWHL's hockey ops department noted her "world-class speed" with "high-end compete and a sound defensive game." Boston needed an offensive powerhouse to add to its roster, and Bilka will be a great addition to instantly bring the team's offense to a new level.

Round #2: Daniela Pejšová (D), 2002, (#7 overall) – Boston traded to move up for this selection, sending picks #10, #16 and #28 to New York in exchange for picks #7 and #37. Clearly, Pejšová is a player they wanted, and they likely knew that Ottawa (who had pick #8) was looking at her, too - especially given Carla Macleod's affiliation with the Czech national team. It's a good pick up for Boston, nabbing her after six seasons in the SDHL. She's been a big part of the rise of the Czech national team, helping win bronze at Worlds in 2022 and 2023. Pejšová was the first European player chosen in the 2024 draft and will likely be one of the youngest players in the league as she fills in a need for a puck-moving defender.

Round #4: Sydney Bard (D), 2001, (#22 overall) Like the aforementioned Pejšová, Bard will also help bolster Boston's transition game. She'll be able to slot in on either the second or third defensive pairing and provide some depth on the blueline, an area where Boston is thin. She captained Colgate in her senior year and had 112 points, including 99 assists, in 180 career NCAA games. Bard also won a silver medal at the 2019 U18s. Inside the Rink calls her "a smaller but impactful defender" that will provide a physical addition to the blue line, while The Athletic noted her passing and play execution as key attributes.

Round #6: Shay Maloney (F), 1999, (#34 overall) Maloney was a bit of a surprise pick here. The Athletic didn't have her ranked in the top 50 prospects, nor did they select her in the mock draft. That said, this pick makes sense for Boston. Maloney played four years at Brown before spending her fifth year at Quinnipiac. She just missed Danielle Marmer, who had left the university after serving as the team's director of hockey operations and director of player development. Marmer calls her a "power forward." Last season, she led the SDHL's Leksands IF with 20 points in 36 games.

Round #7: Ilona Markova (F), 2002, (#37 overall) – Markova is the first Russian player to be drafted into the PWHL. Like Pejšová, she's one of the younger players to be selected, but she's already a three-time champion overseas with the ZhHL's Agidel Ufa – a team she joined at just 16 years old. This season, she was fifth on the team in scoring, putting up 14 goals and 26 assists for 40 points in 42 games. She also participated in the All-Star Game. Historically, she's represented Russia at U18s, but hasn't had the chance at the senior level since the IIHF banned Russia and Belarus beginning in 2022. Marmer said the PWHL is already working on her visa and called her "an incredibly talented hockey player."

Round #7: Hadley Hartmetz (D), 2001, (#40 overall) – Most mock drafts seemed to have Hartmetz going higher, so it may have been surprising that Boston was able to snag her this late. The Athletic had her ranked as the #25th available prospect, noting her poise and catch-and-release shot, while The Hockey News ranked her #27. She fell to 40th, likely due to her getting injured in the national championship game. She was helped off the ice and put no weight on her right leg, though there aren't any additional public details about what the injury was or the recovery progress at this time.

Hartmetz spent two seasons at BC before transferring to Ohio State for her last three years. She appeared in 170 NCAA games and had 67 assists and 88 points,. In addition to a national championship in 2022, she won gold and silver for Team USA at U18s in prior years.


"We needed a dynamic forward who plays with pace and has a high hockey IQ, and I think we found that with Hannah Bilka. Then, we definitely wanted to add more on the backend and were looking for a player who plays aggressively, who has a willingness to impact, who skates very well and can transition. With Daniela Pejšová, that was exciting to be able to trade up to pick her." – Danielle Marmer

"My speed and creativity. I like to make plays, but also score goals and be responsible on both sides of the puck." – Hannah Bilka on her style of play

"Boston has a lot to offer. The fanbase has been so inspiring to see, as a player coming into the league, and I'm just grateful to be a part of trying to grow that, grow women's hockey and grow the game in general." – Sydney Bard

"All of those players in the league and in Boston are amazing and it's going to be an honor to play with them and against them." – Daniela Pejšová

"I love the city. It's my favorite city, probably, ever. I think the fans are electric. That final game sold out, that rink. Just really excited to go to such a skilled team and then also just a passionate fanbase." – Hannah Bilka

"I'm excited. I'm very familiar with the area, and Hannah Bilka was actually my roommate my first years at Boston College, so I'm excited to be back with her as well." – Hadley Hartmetz

"We knew that we were going to have a few at the back end of the draft, and figured that would be an ideal place to go for a player that we might have a little bit of an issue getting the visa situation going and getting her over here, but I know the league is already working on it. We're going to do our best to make sure that she can come play next season, because she's an incredibly-talented hockey player as well as a goalscorer and somebody who I think is a sleeper pick." – Danielle Marmer on Ilona Markova

"I watched them really closely this year. So many great players like Hilary [Knight] and Alina Müller. The list goes on. It's really exciting." - Hannah Bilka on her new team

"I'd say I'm a two-way defenseman. I like to join the offense and use my skating ability, which is probably one of my best aspects of my game. I like to get shots through, but also be tough to play against and play solid D." – Hadley Hartmetz

"My speed, making simple plays in the D zone. Being defensive-minded, but also knowing when to jump in the rush. I think that [the physical play] plays into my game. Not the biggest player, but I think I can use my speed and positioning to get on the right side of pucks and win some puck battles." – Sydney Bard

"We scored the fewest amount of goals heading into the playoffs, and we felt like while we were missing some pieces up front, a big piece of that was actually just breaking the puck out consistently, being able to transition quickly and having to move the puck well. I think with Bard and Hartmetz, they do that really well. They'll activate offensively, they'll join the rush and they'll move the ball quickly and make good decisions with it." – Danielle Marmer

Current Roster

(listed with the amount of years remaining on their current contract)

Loren Gabel, F, 1 year
Taylor Girard, F, 1 year
Susanna Tapani, F, 1 year
Theresa Schafzahl, F, 1 year
Jamie Lee Rattray, F, 2 years
Alina Müller, F, 2 years
Hilary Knight, F, 2 years
Jessica Digirolamo, D, 1 year
Megan Keller, D, 2 years
Emma Söderberg, G, 1 year
Aerin Frankel, G, 2 years

Draft Picks by Position

Forward: 3
Defense: 3
Goaltender: 0


Here's what Boston GM Danielle Marmer said of her team after the draft:

We feel so good about the depth we have in Boston, the players we have. A lot of that is a credit to how we did in last year's draft, and feeling like these are players that we want to continue to work with and want to build with, and just needed a couple pieces to round out our group.

Boston may have strayed from expectations for a few of its picks, but it's clear that the organization feels good about what they've got. Their picks across the draft were surprising in parts. I particularly like the additions of Hannah Bilka and Daniela Pejšová. From hearing Marmer speak, it's clear that Boston saw something in each of its picks and can see them slotting in to fit specific needs.

The team already has seven forwards signed for the upcoming season, so there's only room for a few more free agents if their draft picks also sign. They will need to add (or re-sign) a few more defenders and add some depth to the blue line. With Frankel and Söderberg, Boston is pretty set on goaltending, but expect them to add a third netminder at some point for insurance. Cami Kronish, who was the team's third goalie this past season, never saw any playing time but could re-sign.

Boston came so close to the Walter Cup this past season. Marmer, Courtney Kessel and staff have to feel pretty good about that. The team just needs to get its offense firing on all cylinders, and have the defense step up to take away some chances from its opponents, lest Aerin Frankel have to make 50+ saves in back-to-back playoff games again.

(Photo: Heather Pollock/PWHL)