With the collegiate hockey season coming to a close, the ten finalists for the Hobey Baker Award have been 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 still became NHL regulars after winning from 2016-18.
2019’s winner was University of Massachusetts defenseman Cale Makar, who has gone on to win the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s best rookie and is now dominating the league with the Colorado Avalanche. In 2020 the award was given to Scott Perunovich, who is dealing with some unfortunate injury issues to start his career but still looks like a future contributor to the St. Louis Blues blueline.
In 2021, Cole Caufield took home the award after leading the nation in scoring at the University of Wisconsin. Caufield made an immediate impact by helping the Montreal Canadiens reach the Stanley Cup Final a few months later and, while struggling early this season, still looks like a key building block for the future.
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, 77 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:
Matty Beniers, University of Michigan (Seattle Kraken)
Bobby Brink, University of Denver (Philadelphia Flyers)
Luke Hughes, University of Michigan (New Jersey Devils)
Devon Levi, Northeastern University (Buffalo Sabres)
Nathan Smith, Minnesota State University-Mankato (Winnipeg Jets)
Dryden McKay, Minnesota State University-Mankato (undrafted)
Ben Meyers, University of Minnesota (undrafted)
Yaniv Perets, Quinnipiac University (undrafted)
Bobby Trivigno, University of Massachusetts-Amherst (undrafted)
Brian Halonen, Michigan Technological University (undrafted)