The Premier Hockey Federation 2022 Free Agency period has been open for 12 weeks, and most teams – Boston Pride finally included – have been releasing signing news. After some contracts were initially publicized, the issue of salary disclosure became a talking point, and both fans and media were left with unclear rules surrounding the practice. Fortunately, the PHF has since released a statement clarifying that players can disclose their contract information if they so choose. Along with the statement, the salaries of 18 players signed as of July 21st were also included in the release, marking a moment of transparency in the league and giving players a boost in negotiating power.
With that in mind, we turn to the Toronto Six and their signings thus far in free agency. Four of the 18 salaries released by the PHF in their statement belong to members of the Six, giving shape to the team’s salary cap situation. Currently, 12 signings have been announced by the club, who can sign up to 25 players to their roster.
It’s difficult to discuss the make-up of the Six’s roster without first addressing the team’s biggest subtraction: losing Mikyla Grant-Mentis to the Beauts meant losing a huge offensive threat for the upcoming season. There are a few steps they’ll need to take to remain competitive in the league, including bringing back key members on offense and the blue line. With the re-signing of Breanne Wilson-Bennett, a fabulous net-front presence, the team retains a player that scored 6 points in 6 regular season games last season (5 goals, 1 assist).
More returning forwards include captain Shiann Darkangelo, who will be playing in her fifth season in the PHF (third with Toronto) and amassed eight goals and 12 assists in 20 games last regular season, and Emma Woods, also entering her third season with the Six and boasting just under a point per game average (9 goals, 13 assists in 24 regular season games played). Three of Emma’s nine goals last season came on the team’s league-leading power play, another important piece of the Six’s success. Woods’ announced contract comes in at $44,340, just under 6% of the team’s total salary cap.
Toronto has also added a huge offensive player to their line-up. 26-year-old Brittany Howard’s signing was announced by the club back in June, the forward coming off of three years playing with the PWHPA. Jeff Marek reported on the 32 Thoughts podcast that Howard signed for an estimated $70,000, representing just over 9% of the cap.
While the team had to replace a loss on offense, they also re-signed key pieces on the backend, including point-producing Lindsay Eastwood and Taylor Woods – both back for their third seasons with Toronto – and last season’s league-leader in shots blocked, Saroya Tinker. Additionally, defender Emma Greco returns to Toronto after a season away, thanks to the growth and new opportunities being presented to women’s hockey and the PHF.
Last but certainly not least was the task of securing talent between the posts. Toronto locked down 2022’s Goaltender of the Year Elaine Chuli for the upcoming season, a must-have on the roster checklist. Chuli didn’t lose a single start until the very last game of the regular season, backstopping the team with a 1.82 goals against average and .931 save percentage. As if that wasn’t enough talent for the crease, Toronto also went out and signed former Buffalo Beaut Carly Jackson for the 2022-2023 season, giving a one-two goaltending punch that will be extremely difficult for any other team in the league to top. The 25-year-old goalie from Nova Scotia was selected third overall by Buffalo in the 2020 draft and is a fan favorite in the league, earning a .908 save percentage and notching one shut-out last season. With such an impressive tandem, Toronto won’t have to rely so heavily on Chuli as they did last season.
We’re still months away from the start of the season, but Toronto still has a few defenders and forwards to sign to round out a squad ready to make a push for the Isobel Cup.