The 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award were announced this past Friday and as all of the experts are saying there were a bunch of surprises to this year’s list. I decided to take a deeper look at this year’s list of 10 and try to determine who the committee will pick for the Hobey Hat Trick on April 2 and who they will pick as the winner. I haven’t seen all of the players play, so I feel there is no way I can truly say “who is the best player in college hockey”.
So let begin with a breakdown of the players:
Player - Team - Position - Year - Awards
Louie Caporusso Michigan F Sophmore CCHA 1st Team Forward
Matt Gilroy Boston University D Senior HE 1st Team Defense
Chad Johnson Alaska G Senior CCHA Player of the Year
Zane Kalemba Princeton G Junior ECAC Player of the Year and the Ken Dryden Award
Jacques Lamoureux Air Force F Sophmore AHA Player of the Year
Jamie McBain Wisconsin D Junior WCHA Player of the Year
David McIntyre Colgate F Junior ECAC 1st Team Forward
Viktor Stalberg Vermont F Junior HE 1st Team Forward
Brad Thiessen Northeastern G Junior HE Player of the Year
Colin Wilson Boston University F Sophmore HE 1st Team Forward
Over the years the Hobey committee seems to like goal scorers and points leaders. This year’s points leader is currently Bryan Leitch of Quinnipiac with 59 points, who is not one of the finalists. He is 7 points ahead of Jacques Lamourex. Since there is no big time scoring leader (I think the committee is thinking this), this means there will be a defenseman, a goalie and a forward as the three finalists.
So let’s go to the Defense. You have Jamie McBain who was the WCHA player of the year and Matt Gilroy who was Hockey East 1st team defense. Well, McBain’s Player of the Year Award trumps Gilroy’s 1st team award. McBain is the 1st Finalist.
Now it is on to the goalies. There are three to pick from and all three have terrific numbers and all three were their conference’s Play of the Year. First is Chad Johnson for Alaska (not in the tournament), second is Brad Thiessen of Northeastern and third Zane Kalemba of Princeton. Theissen and Kalemba are both still playing in the Tournament. I think if either Kalemba or Theissen have big games one of them will be the goalie in the final three, if not Johnson and his 6 shutouts for the season will be the goalie in the Hobey Trick. At this point I am going to say Johnson.
Last are the forwards. We have one conference Player of the Year award winner remaining in Jacques Lamourex, with the other being 1st team conference forwards in Colin Wilson, Viktor Stalberg, David McIntyre and Louie Caporusso. David McIntyre’s Colgate Raiders are done for the season and he is tied for 10th in the nation for scoring (with Viktor Stalberg) so he is out. For that matter Viktor is out also. For a UMD comparison MacGregor Sharp is currently tied for 6th in scoring overall and 2nd for goals scored and he is not a finalist. Now to Wilson and Caporusso, both have more points than Sharp, however currently less goals. So before a decision is made lets looks at Lamourex who leads the nation in goals scored and is currently 2nd in points. Since Lamourex was the only forward that was a conference Player of the Year and all of the others were not considered to be the best player in their respective conferences this season, Lamourex gets the nod.
Ok so we have McBain, Johnson (or one of the others if they stand on their heads) and Lamourex. So who wins the Hobey? Well for the UMD connection the committee probably remembers Stalock’s performance last weekend and will say is Johnson really the best goalie in the Nation? At which point they will probably think back to Ryan Miller and Rob Stauber and ask “is Johnson in their caliber?” I think they will say no. That leaves Lamourex and McBain. So, Lamourex, had a great season for a team that is viewed to play week competition (Air Forces strength of schedule in the RPI is currently 45). I think they will pass on Lamourex leaving McBain as your Hobey winner. Lets watch and see what happens.