In a surprising move this morning, the Toronto Furies announced that they have traded defender Erin Ambrose to les Canadiennes de Montréal for four draft picks—Montréal’s 2018 1st and 3rd, their 2019 1st and 2020 3rd.
In the short term, this move is going to hurt the Furies. Ambrose has been centralized so far this season with Team Canada, and was recently cut (to my, and most people I know’s, surprise). In Ambrose and Renata Fast’s absence, the Furies defense has struggled, to put it lightly. Last weekend, due to injury and then suspension, they were down to only four defenders plus Brooke Beazer, who’d been switched from forward to defense. Whether Fast will make the Olympic team is still unknown, but it’s now definite that the Furies won’t get Ambrose back to help out their defensive corps. Considering that Ambrose is an excellent player—to my eye, the best Furies defender last year—that’s a real shame.
The bright spot of this trade is that in sending her to Montréal, Toronto did not undervalue her, and that will make the 2018 CWHL Draft even more interesting. Usually when a CWHL player is traded (which is almost always at the player’s request—a league that expects its players to have second jobs isn’t going to ship someone willy-nilly from city to city) it is for the nebulous “future considerations.” The last two Canadian National Team players to be traded, goalies Geneviève Lacasse and Emerance Maschmeyer, were both considered “future considerations” for the original trades of Tara Watchorn and Haley Irwin, respectively. In both cases, years passed between those two trades.
Trades for draft picks tend to be intra-GTA (between Toronto and Markham), and when players are traded for draft picks, it’s very rare that it’s a multi-pick trade. Getting four picks for Ambrose is a great thing, and it’s worth noting that a lot of players put both Montréal and the GTA down as potential destinations. It’s also exciting considering the possible depth of next year’s CWHL draft. I’m already eyeing up a half-dozen Ontarian NCAA seniors who would make great additions to the Furies’ roster, and having Montréal’s first and third will help keep them away from Markham. The Furies will see a benefit from this trade by next year, instead of having to wait an indeterminate amount of time for “future considerations” to match up.
As for les Canadiennes, this is a case of the rich getting richer. They’re already one of the best teams in the league this year, and Ambrose is a fantastic young defender who’s only going to improve that team. She had 8 assists in 17 games as a rookie for Toronto, and was named to the CWHL All-Star team. Montréal’s going to love her.
Ambrose will make her debut for Montréal this upcoming weekend against Markham, and we’ll have recaps of those games, as well as Toronto’s games against the Calgary Inferno.