Hobey Baker Watch: Jan. 27
The college hockey season is in full swing and for most teams conference play is continuing to heat up. In these massive conference series, the stars of the nation begin to stick out and the contenders for the Hobey Baker Award emerge.
Starting with the player who has most consistently been featured in this article and whose team has been most consistently ranked toward the top of the nation.
Dryden McKay has been by far the most successful and statistically dominant goaltender all season and arguably last season as well.
The Minnesota State senior is top five in most major goaltending categories except save percentage where he has a mark of .930 so you could say he is doing just fine.
McKay has a goals-against average of 1.24, eight shutouts and a nation-leading 23 victories.
Earlier this season he broke college hockey legend and former NHL star Ryan Miller’s shutout record of 26 which stood for nearly 20 years. McKay now has 32 career shutouts and counting.
Simply put, Dryden McKay has been flat-out stealing wins for his team and has been the clear best player at his position all season long. The only thing that could be working against McKay winning the Hobey Baker is his position.
One player that has shown he can stand out on a team full of superstars is Matty Beniers.
The Michigan forward and second overall NHL draft pick is tied for third in the nation in points on a Michigan squad that has plenty of scoring mouths to feed.
Beniers has proven to be a menace on the power play, scoring eight goals with the man advantage which stacks up as third in the nation.
While his numbers are not as profound as McKay’s, Beniers has found a way to catch eyes despite being on a team where eyes can be impressed by looking anywhere.
On a power play that features two fellow top-five NHL draft picks, Beniers has been the finisher and the one teams have been fearing.
Speaking of goal-scoring, the current leading goal scorer in the nation resides on one of college hockey’s most fascinating teams this season.
Ethen Frank and the Western Michigan Broncos have simply shattered expectations this season. The squad has sparked up to now being ranked No. 3 in the nation and Frank has been the star.
As stated earlier, Frank leads college hockey in goals with 17, nine more than any of his teammates. However, he does not even lead the Broncos in points and is outside the top 20 skaters in the nation in this category.
For Frank to draw looks for the Hobey Baker Award he will have to hold his current status as the nation’s leading scorer. What could help Frank is if the voters are swayed by the narrative of his team’s surprising success and his part in that.
Despite the time of the season, there are still plenty of Hobey Baker candidates to choose from and it is anyone's guess who will come out with the prestigious hardware. Either way, one of college hockey’s stars will outshine the rest down the stretch and just might earn themselves the level’s top individual honor.
Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.