Picks – 1, 3, 8, 9, 11, 31, 38
GK – Smith, Stout
DEF – Elby, Strom, Westphal, Oyster, Chapman, King
MF – Ratcliffe, Salem, DaCosta, White, Verdoia
FW – Dowie, Simon, Haavi
DEF – Engen
The Breakers have seven picks overall, including five of the first eleven, and they’re going to need them to pan out considering the state of the roster. Boston finished dead last in goals scored and goals allowed, with the defense seventeen goals worse than the next leakiest defense. Manager Matt Beard has engaged in a clearout in the offseason while also trying to bring in some international talent to fortify the ranks, but the draft is a clear focus for the club in restocking the reserves of talent in Boston.
In goal, Abby Smith is the presumptive #1 after impressing in brief action last season before a serious injury ended her rookie season. Smith’s health is obviously going to dictate Boston’s course of action, but it’s difficult envisioning them spending one of their earlier picks on a netminder given the holes elsewhere. Libby Stout is the likely backup and saw extended minutes here last season, but the Breakers can probably do better and may choose to use one of their final picks on some competition for the backup spot.
Defense has to be a clear priority after the horror show on the backline last year. With Mollie Pathman retired and Kassey Kallman shipped to Washington, the rebuilding effort’s already well under way, though the talent on hand doesn’t exactly foster confidence at first glance. Megan Oyster arrived in the trade with Kallman and is likely being looked at to start at center-back after falling out of favor in D.C. in her second season. Who partners her is a good question, with veteran Julie King a likely option right now. Whitney Engen would obviously slide into that second center-back spot if she re-signs here, which certainly is not guaranteed right now. It would be a surprise if the Breakers don’t use one of their early picks on a central defender.
If the club does get Engen back, King likely starts at right-back with newly acquired Allysha Chapman the likely starter at left-back. Depth here isn’t great though, so the Breakers might need to reach a bit to bring in someone that can compete for minutes on the flanks.
Boston will likely be looking to use it’s top pick on an attacking midfielder after Kristie Mewis was sent to the Spirit via trade in the offseason. The team is missing a noted attacking spark in the center of the park, even after the additions of Amanda Da Costa and Rosie White. Again, depth is an issue here, even if Angela Salem starts against as a defensive midfielder.
The Breakers look to be set at forward. Natasha Dowie looked an inspired signing upon joining the team last season, while Kyah Simon should also push for starting minutes despite being goal shy in 2016 for the club. Big things are expected of new recruit Emilie Haavi out of Norway, though how many games Beard gets out of her this season with UEFA EURO 2017 pending is a question. It doesn’t seem too likely Boston spends a first-rounder on a forward though.
Biggest Needs: AM, CB (especially if Engen doesn’t re-sign), general depth everywhere, backup GK competition Continue reading