PWHL Toronto Scores Big with Daryl Watts Signing, Raises Team Canada Questions

Daryl Watts celebrating a goal.
(Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

PWHL Toronto made headlines with their recent signing of Daryl Watts, a standout forward known for her prolific scoring and dynamic play. This acquisition not only boosts Toronto’s roster but also raises intriguing questions about the implications for PWHL Ottawa, which now faces the challenge of filling the void left by one of their key players. Additionally, with Toronto’s General Manager and Head Coach also holding the same positions for Team Canada, did this impact Watts’s decision?

Daryl Watts has been a game-changer in women’s hockey ever since she burst onto the scene. A former Patty Kazmaier Award winner (and four-time finalist), given annually to the top female college hockey player in the United States, Watts has consistently demonstrated her scoring prowess and playmaking ability. During her college career with Boston College and later the University of Wisconsin, she amassed an impressive 297 points, which is 4th all-time in the NCAA.
Last season with PWHL Ottawa, Watts played 24 games, scoring 10 goals and adding 7 assists. Her ability to consistently find the back of the net and set up teammates made her a valuable part of Ottawa’s offense.

Related Post: 5 PWHL Free Agents Ottawa Should Target

The Impact of Watts’ Departure on PWHL Ottawa

Losing a player of Daryl Watts’ caliber is a significant blow to PWHL Ottawa. Her contributions last season were crucial in both scoring and creating opportunities for her teammates, including a hat trick on March 23rd against Toronto. With 10 goals and 7 assists in 24 games, she was one of the team’s top offensive threats, and her absence will be deeply felt.
Ottawa now faces the challenge of reconfiguring its offensive strategies without Watts. Without her, Ottawa will need to find new ways to generate offense and maintain their competitive edge. Newly drafted forwards, including Danielle Serdachny, will be sure to make an impact when they make their debuts this upcoming season.

Toronto Scores Big

Last season, Toronto finished in first place, showcasing their dominance in the league. However, the team faces uncertainty, with MVP Natalie Spooner likely out for an extended period due to a knee injury suffered in the 2024 Walter Cup playoffs. This injury leaves a significant void in Toronto’s lineup, particularly in terms of leadership and scoring.
By securing a player of Watts’ caliber, Toronto aims to fill this gap and maintain their top position. Watts is expected to fit seamlessly into Toronto’s system, which emphasizes speed, skill, and offensive creativity. Her ability to score from anywhere on the ice, combined with her playmaking skills, makes her a versatile asset. With Watts in the lineup, Toronto’s offensive depth is poised for a significant boost.

Team Canada Considerations

PWHL Toronto + Canada GM Gina Kingsbury and Head Coach Troy Ryan
PWHL Toronto + Canada GM Gina Kingsbury and Head Coach Troy Ryan (Hockey Canada)

Watts’ signing also raises questions about her role in Team Canada’s future. She has not been on Team Canada since U18.
With Toronto’s General Manager Gina Kingsbury and Head Coach Troy Ryan also holding the same positions for Team Canada, Watts’ integration into Toronto’s lineup could provide her with a significant advantage when it comes to national team considerations. This dual role means that her development and performance in the PWHL will be directly observed by those making decisions for Team Canada, potentially increasing her chances of securing a spot on the national team.

According to Ian Kennedy, Team Canada sent out their national team summer invites on Wednesday. Daryl Watts and Emma Woods both received invites who were later signed by PWHL Toronto on Friday.
Watts also reportedly turned down more money to sign with PWHL Toronto. The potential conflict of interest could raise concerns among other players and teams in the PWHL as Kingsbury could have used a National Team invite to lure Watts to PWHL Toronto.

The signing of Daryl Watts by Toronto is significant for the PWHL, with wide-ranging implications for the league. Ottawa, in particular, faces a tough challenge in compensating for the loss of one of their top players. As Toronto looks to leverage Watts’ talent to achieve success, Ottawa and other teams must adapt to this new challenge. The increased competition and heightened rivalries will be sure to elevate the level of play across the league next season. As the season unfolds, all eyes will be on how this move shapes the future of the PWHL, and how potential conflicts of interest with National Teams are managed.

Elisha Côté

Elisha Côté is a Media Production and Design student at Carleton University and a passionate sports fan. Mainly focusing on PWHL Ottawa, she also covers the NHL's Ottawa Senators.

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