PWHL trade grades: Ottawa lands Tereza Vanišová, Montreal upgrades blue line with Amanda Boulier

The PWHL’s first-ever trade deadline officially passed at 4 p.m. ET. It was a quiet day compared to the NHL’s trade deadline, as PWHL general managers do not have the ability to trade draft picks until the end of the 2024 season.

Still, one trade has been officially processed, with one more expected to come. The Athletic will be grading the league’s first deadline day moves.

The trade

Montreal gets: Amanda Boulier

Ottawa gets: Tereza Vanišová

One of the stories of Montreal’s season has been a lack of depth on the blue line. The team has regularly used Leah Lum, a forward in the Premier Hockey Federation last season, on defense, and Dominika Lásková – another forward-defense hybrid player – was put on LTIR in February. Erin Ambrose is a true do-everything No. 1 defender, but she can only play so many minutes – on Sunday afternoon she logged almost 25 minutes in a 2-1 loss to Toronto.

Heading into the trade deadline there was no bigger need in Montreal than help on the blue line, and acquiring Boulier will help address that in a meaningful way. The 30-year-old was one of the highest-scoring defenders in PHF history and remained productive in Ottawa while playing third-pair minutes. She will bring offensive upside to Montreal’s blue line and help round out the top-three D-pairs.

Montreal is on track to comfortably make the postseason, but winning a championship with the previous blue-line mix would have been a tough ask – Montreal’s goalie tandem of Ann-Renée Desbiens and Elaine Chuli have faced 536 shots against, which is the second-most in the league. GM Danièle Sauvageau had a clear need and filled it – but she paid a meaningful price.

Tereza Vanišová is a top-six forward who is fifth on Montreal in points (10 points in 17 games). She will bring a necessary level of offensive production to an Ottawa team that is sitting one point out of a playoff spot. GM Mike Hirshfeld built one of the deepest blue lines in the PWHL and used that depth to add a meaningful piece to the stretch without weakening his lineup.

>Vanišová has played for Ottawa head coach Carla MacLeod for the Czechia women’s national team and will have some familiar faces in the Ottawa locker room in national team teammates Aneta Tejralová and Kateřina Mrázová, which should help ease the transition to a new team with only seven games remaining.

Ottawa’s top six is set, and has been productive in recent weeks, particularly the second line of Daryl Watts, Brianne Jenner and Mrázová. What they’ll need from Vanišová is secondary scoring help, and she is capable of providing it.

My only nitpick would be that Montreal gave up a second-line winger for Ottawa’s fifth-best defender. Someone like Zoe Boyd or Jincy Roese coming back instead of Boulier would have bumped Montreal up to an A – but subsequently would have lowered Ottawa’s grade.

Not to mention, Vanišová will create a hole in Montreal’s currently depleted forward group with Marie-Philip Poulin and Ann-Sophie Bettez hurt and Kennedy Marchment on LTIR. Perhaps it’s one that Mikyla Grant-Mentis, who signed a reserve contract this month, can help fill.

Montreal grade: C+

Ottawa grade: A

(Photo of Tereza Vanišová playing for PWHL Montreal on March 17, 2024: Justin Berl / Getty Images)

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