Beauts ink scoring leaders Scamurra and Elia

Fattey goes big in early days of free agency

The NWHL began its free agency signing period on June 1. It didn’t take long for the first signing to be announced, and once Hayley Scamurra inked her deal, it wasn’t much of a surprise to see her linemate Maddie Elia had also re-signed with the Buffalo Beauts.

Scamurra and Elia were the perfect one-two punch for a Buffalo team that struggled to find itself early in the season. The pair were aligned early with veteran Kourtney Kunichika, and that line was the most consistent for the Beauts throughout the season.

Signing Scamurra and Elia were key moves for freshman general manager Nik Fattey. The former NHL scout was very complimentary of Scamurra in an interview with Die By The Blade stating, “Hayley works incredibly hard, she’s extremely skilled with a really good finish, and at the same time, she’s a good teammate.” The 2018 Rookie of the Year certainly made her mark in the league.

Fattey was equally impressed with Elia’s rookie season, which saw her listed as a finalist for Rookie of the Year. “Maddie played an important role as a rookie last season, and brought skill and a high level of compete to the team,” Fattey said in the press release. “We’re looking forward to seeing Maddie continue to prove she is one of the top players in the league.”

There is no question that Elia’s physicality routinely changed the pace of a game, but her offensive prowess drove the Beaut’s mid-to-late season success and was undoubtedly a catalyst for the team’s 11-1 run to end the year. Elia scored 14 points in the regular season, joining Scamurra and Kunichika in a three-way tie for the team lead. Impressively, 33 of the line’s 42 points were scored five-in-five - 79 percent of the production came at even strength.

Elia was entrusted with the lion’s share of the team’s faceoffs, and finished third in the league, according to statistics. The young powerhouse has the innate ability to take control of a game in a number of ways. As the team’s second signing, it is clear that Fattey and the coaching staff understand how dynamic Elia is, and how impactful the pair was in their first campaign.

The incredible accomplishments Scamurra’s breakout season cannot be overstated. She led the team in goals and was third in assists. League accolades aside, Scamurra made an indelible impression in a friendly match against Team USA, when she was the only NWHL skater to score a goal on the future gold medalists.

Her coaching staff has been among Hayley’s biggest fans, with coach Craig Muni reporting to the league, “We’ve been screaming from the mountaintops to anyone who will listen that Hayley deserves national team recognition. Our hope is that USA Hockey closely scouts the NWHL and views our league as a feeder system to the next level. There are many deserving players, including Hayley.”

While Scamurra is certainly the caliber of player that would be a fantastic addition to the national team, Beauts fans are ecstatic to have her back on the roster for her sophomore season.

Two of the most valuable players in the NWHL are back with their hometown team. As the Beauts prepare for their fourth season of play, locking down these towers of power is a strong foundation for the team to build upon. With free agent camp on the very near horizon, Fattey’s team is beginning to take shape, and those who will join Elia and Scamurra will have to work very hard to eclipse the accomplishments of the pair in their first season as professionals.