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Riveters Sign Defender Courtney Burke from Wisconsin

The #4 overall pick in the 2015 NWHL draft has signed with the Riveters at the expense of a $5,000 cap penalty and a $17,000 contract.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

And the Riveters' blue line just keeps getting better...

The NWHL's press release:

New York, NY — Courtney Burke has signed a contract with the New York Riveters for the 2016-17 season, General Manager Chad Wiseman announced Thursday. Burke and the Riveters agreed to terms on a one-year, $17,000 contract.

"I really like the opportunity the Riveters have provided me with," said Burke. "This opportunity will give me the ability to keep growing as a player. They are committed to making the best team possible and I am happy to be a part of it."

Burke (Wisconsin) scored 108 points (18g, 90a) in 158 NCAA games. She captained the Badgers and led all WCHA defensemen in points, points-per-game, and power-play assists in her senior season. Burke played for USA Hockey at the IIHF World Championship in 2011 and 2012, as well as the 2015 U-22 Series against Canada.

"I'm just excited to start playing games and get the season going," Burke continued. "It's awesome that we are able to prolong our careers beyond the college level now."

Burke was drafted in the first round of the 2015 NWHL Draft, fourth overall, by the Buffalo Beauts. In accordance with the draft tax bylaws, the Riveters will forfeit $5,000 from their salary cap to the Beauts.

Burke will bring some much-needed puck movement and talent to the Riveters defense after a stellar four-year career at the University of Wisconsin where she served as the team's captain last season. In 153 games Burke registered 90 assists on the blue line while wearing red and white with the Badgers.

Burke was the first defender taken in the 2015 NWHL Draft and the first pick of the Riveters in-state rival, the Buffalo Beauts. Because Burke was a Beauts pick and her rights weren't acquired in a trade the Riveters will need to surrender $5,000 of their cap space to the Beauts for the upcoming season.

Riveters fans have seen their head coach and general manager display an aggressive attitude towards putting the best possible team together since the unrestricted free agency period has opened. Clearly, Wiseman has his mind set on building a fast, talented team that can move the puck and won't routinely be crushed in the possession game.

Adding Burke to a blue line that already features stars Kaleigh Fratkin, Ashley Johnston, and Kiira Dosdall is another big step in the right direction.

Burke has signed for $17,000 for one year but effectively will cost the Riveters $22,000 in cap space because of the draft tax bylaws and the salary cap space the Riveters have forfeited in signing her.

We'll keep you posted on any and all new developments with the Burke signing and all other Riveters' offseason news.