The college hockey season may have come to an abrupt end, but award voting will go on anyway. Today, the ten finalists for the Hobey Baker Award were announced. 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 2014, 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. Jimmy Vesey, Will Butcher and Adam Gaudette don’t bring quite the same impact, but are still NHL regulars after winning from 2016-18.
Last year’s winner was University of Massachusetts defenseman Cale Makar, who has gone on to be one of the most impressive rookies in the NHL this season with the Colorado Avalanche. Makar leaves big shoes to fill by this year’s nominees.
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.
Earlier this year, 78 players from the NCAA ranks were nominated for the award, and today that number has been reduced to just ten. These ten players will be narrowed to just three, a process that anyone can be a part of by participating in the fan vote. Votes will be added to the decision from a selection committee to produce three finalists, from which a winner will be crowned.
The top-10 finalists are as follows, with the NHL organization who owns their draft rights in parenthesis:
Morgan Barron, Cornell University (New York Rangers)
Jason Cotton, Sacred Heart University
Jack Dugan, Providence College (Vegas Golden Knights)
David Farrance, Boston University (Nashville Predators)
Jordan Kawaguchi, University of North Dakota
John Leonard, University of Massachusetts (San Jose Sharks)
Dryden McKay, Minnesota State University-Mankato
Marc Michaelis, Minnesota State University-Mankato
Jeremy Swayman, University of Maine (Boston Bruins)*
Scott Perunovich, University of Minnesota-Duluth (St. Louis Blues)
*Swayman has already signed his entry-level contract with the Bruins.