Late on Saturday night, the NCAA announced (Twitter link) the winner of the 2020 Hobey Baker Award for the top NCAA men’s ice hockey player. Blues prospect Scott Perunovich took home the prize, beating out Bruins prospect Jeremy Swayman and undrafted free agent Jordan Kawaguchi.
Perunovich becomes the sixth player from Minnesota-Duluth to win the award which is a record among NCAA teams. The 21-year-old was named the NCHC’s top offensive defenseman for the third straight season after recording six goals and 34 assists in 34 games this season for the Bulldogs.
It has been an interesting journey for Perunovich when it comes to his NHL path. Initially undrafted in his first two years of eligibility, he was vaulted onto the radar after his first college year which convinced St. Louis to pick him in the second round (45th overall) back in 2018. Since then, his stock has only risen and he now stands as one of their top prospects.
Last month, Perunovich agreed to terms with the Blues on two separate entry-level deals, foregoing his senior season in the process. Which contract ultimately gets signed will depend on what happens to the current season which is on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If play resumes, Perunovich will burn the first year of his deal this season and will be eligible to play for St. Louis in the playoffs if they want to use him. If not, the contract will begin in 2020-21.