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Beauts’ aggressive approach rocks NWHL

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Babstock leaves Whale, joins stacked Beauts roster

Kelly Babstock (8) sneaks past Jillian Dempsey (14), looking to make a play.
Michelle Jay

As if the news coming out of HarborCenter weren’t exciting enough, Nik Fattey and the Buffalo Beauts announced the signing of one of the NWHL’s most dynamic forwards, Kelly Babstock.

The 25-year old leaves the Connecticut Whale to head for the Queen City among a flurry of such noteworthy signings.

While the Beauts load up on premier talent, the rest of the league sits silent in watch. Buffalo’s affiliation with Pegula Sports and Entertainment has clearly changed the face of the league, drawing Olympic gold-medalists, collegiate champions, and now Babstock.

A legend in Connecticut, Babstock was the teams most tenured and consistent player, scoring at a pace of .82 points per game and nearly half a goal a game in her three seasons with the Whale.

Babstock was a bit snakebitten in the 2017-18 season, bringing her career numbers down a hair. Whereas the talented sniper shot over 15 percent for two seasons, she dropped to 5.6 percent last year.

Prior to the NWHL, Babstock was a star at Quinnipiac; 202 points in 148 games. 95 of those points were goals. In her first season at QU, Babstock was the ECAC rookie of the year.

Aside from her offensive accolades, Babstock has a reputation for her physicality, at both ends of the ice. The Ontario native has played key minutes in her time with the Whale.

Buffalo now has seven forward slots filled, with three returning players. The three other additions that Fattey has added to the roster are all standout players in their own right.

The Beauts have consistently seen a lot of turnover in their roster throughout their history; this has led to slow starts in each of their three seasons. Perhaps Fattey and his coaching staff are working to battle this trend; assembling a team early in the offseason and hoping to get the team together for optional workouts before camp.

Regardless, Fattey’s aggressive strategy has given Buffalo an opportunity to assemble a veritable who’s-who of women’s hockey superstars.

Still unsigned is Jess Jones, who attended free agent camp recently. Jones led the CWHL in points in 2016-17, and surely the feisty forward would fit nicely on a line with Babstock.

As June hits the midway point, surely the freshman GM will have to turn his attention toward the back end of the ice, and has a whole world of prospects to choose from.