Cleat Geeks

Katelyn Gosling Holds Potential to be Franchise Player in 2016 CWHL Draft

KatelynGoslingAs the list of players declaring for the 2016 Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) Draft continues to grow, the addition of Katelyn Gosling to this list makes her a surefire pick to be taken in the first round. As the leader of the University of Western Ontario Mustangs defense, she was instrumental in the team allowing merely 1.51 goals per game, the third lowest total in the nation.

Having won a National Championship with Western in 2015 (a program first), Gosling not only knows how to win, but she may prove to be the last piece of the puzzle for a club with Clarkson Cup ambitions. A three-time nod to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) All-Star team, garnering first team honors in 2013 and 2016, along with second team honors in 2015.

Not only does Gosling have a fundamentally sound game on defense, showing disciplined play and an ability to anchor special teams, she provides the added bonus of solid offensive skill. Having logged 81 points in 114 career games with Western, she reached double digits in scoring in four of her five seasons with the program.GoslingTopGun

In Gosling’s fifth and final season, she logged 18 points in 24 games played, ranking among the highest scoring blueliners in Canadian Interuniversity Sport play. From January 23 to February 13, she amassed a solid seven game scoring streak, ending said streak with a sensational three point output against Windsor in a 6-3 victory on February 13.

Such proficiency on the offensive side of the game would make her a welcome addition to the Brampton Thunder, one of the youngest (and most promising teams) in the CWHL. During the 2015-16 campaign, the club had nine players reach double digits in scoring, including three members of their blueline. For a club with Clarkson Cup ambitions, Gosling has the potential to bring the Thunder one step closer to the elusive championship, while possibly establishing herself as a Rookie of the Year candidate.

Taking into account that the Thunder’s defensive unit features Canadian national team members such as Courtney Birchard, Laura Fortino and Jocelyne Larocque, Gosling will definitely not be out of place. Not only has she skated alongside them at the Hockey Canada Fall Festival in 2015, she donned the Canadian jersey at the 2015 Winter Universiade in Granada, Spain, the second Universiade appearance in her career (she would also play on the gold medal winning team at the 2013 Universiade in Trentino, Italy).

Gosling helps Team Canada win gold at Nations Cup.

Gosling helps Team Canada win gold at Nations Cup.

Capturing a silver medal at the 2015 edition of the Universiade, one of her tournament highlights was scoring her first international goal in the event. In addition, she would follow it up by competing for Canada’s U22/Development Team, obtaining gold at the 2016 Nations Cup in Fussen, Germany.

With the second overall pick in the 2016 CWHL Draft, it would come as no surprise if the Toronto Furies opted to select Gosling. Despite having won the Clarkson Cup in 2014, the Furies (who are the sister team of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs) have not been part of the championship conversation. A combination of injuries, retirements and maternity leave for one of its key leaders translated into a dismal 2015-16 campaign.

Accumulating a pair of losing streaks consisting of seven straight and nine straight losses, the Furies only managed five more wins than the Boston Blades, who experienced the worst season in the history of the CWHL. For a Furies club that struggled with offensive futility ranking second last in goals for, while its defense was second highest in goals against.

Undoubtedly, Gosling would be a very welcome addition to Toronto, the type of player that the franchise could build their defense around for the future. During the previous season, not one member of their defensive unit reached double digits in points. Compounding such woes was the fact that the Furies defense combined for 29 points. Meanwhile, Laura Fortino recorded 28 points for Brampton, garnering the CWHL Defensive Player of the Year Award.

In a draft that looks to be defined by the addition of depth to team rosters, rather than the availability of franchise players, Gosling is one of those rare players that can fit either mold. Whether it is that one missing player needed to fulfill championship ambitions, or the player that can add a new dimension to a team with strong playmaking skills, Gosling’s track record makes her one of the Draft’s can’t-miss prospects.

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