The second round of voting has closed, and the Hobey Baker Hat Trick Finalists have been announced. 83 players were nominated for the award this year, and a fan vote was added to the opinions of NCAA head coaches to determine the final ten names, which has now been reduced to just three.
The trophy is given to the top NCAA player in the country, and has an impressive line of winners over the past few years. In 2013-14, Johnny Gaudreau took home the award as a junior for Boston College, followed by Jack Eichel in his only year for Boston University in 2015-16. Jimmy Vesey, Will Butcher and 2017-18 winner Adam Gaudette don’t bring quite the same impact, but look like they’ll each have long NHL careers.
The award also has several top NHL alumni in its small fraternity, including Neal Broten, Tom Kurvers, Paul Kariya, Chris Drury, Ryan Miller and Brendan Morrison. With that group behind them, this year’s winner is certainly not someone to take lightly.
The finalists are as follows:
Cale Makar – University of Massachusetts-Amherst (unsigned, Colorado Avalanche)
Makar, 20, was the fourth overall pick in 2017 and is expected to sign with the Avalanche as soon as his college season ends. That may not be for a little while though, as the talented defenseman has led his team to the Frozen Four with back to back 4-0 victories over Harvard and Notre Dame. Makar is arguably the best drafted prospect outside of the NHL and could be a difference maker as soon as he arrives in Colorado. His offensive game has been there since he played junior hockey in the AJHL, but the mobile defender has polished his defensive game and increased his physicality in two years at UMass-Amherst.
Adam Fox – Harvard University (unsigned, Carolina Hurricanes)
Fox, 21, wasn’t drafted quite as high as Makar but is an exciting prospect in his own right. A third-round pick of the Calgary Flames in 2016 he was traded to Carolina last summer and has already indicated he won’t be signing with the Hurricanes. Armed with incredible vision and playmaking ability Fox is considered one of the best powerplay quarterbacks in the nation and recorded 48 points in 33 games this season for Harvard. While his skating isn’t as dynamic as Makar’s, his huge offensive upside will make him highly sought after if he reaches free agency next summer.
Jimmy Schuldt – St. Cloud State University (Vegas Golden Knights)
Schuldt, 23, is the most experienced of the group having played four seasons at St. Cloud State. The team was arguably the best in the country for almost his entire time there, and the two-way defenseman was a big part of it. Captaining the team for three seasons, Schuldt has an excellent offensive game but really stands out in his own end. An accomplished defender, he can quickly shut down offensive chances and send his team the other way without having to be overly physical. Recently signing as a free agent with the Golden Knights, he’ll be a restricted free agent this summer and able to ink a bigger contract.