Hobey Baker Watch: Preseason
College hockey is back and on display is some of the best talent this sport has to offer. Although early in the season, it is never too early to take a look at this year’s potential Hobey Baker award winners. If you were unaware, the Hobey Baker Award is given to the best player in college hockey. Before the end of each season, the NCAA selects 10 nominees for the award. As of now, the possibilities are endless but this list will contain three players that have the ability to light the lamp and propel themselves into the conversation for the NCAA’s most valuable player.
Cole Caufield - Wisconsin
Without exaggeration freshman Cole Caufield has the potential to put up one of the best season in college hockey history. The small 5 foot 7 winger is considered one of the best goal scoring prospects the world has ever seen since Alex Ovechkin was drafted first overall in the 2004 NHL Draft.
Caulfield has what it takes to be a stud in college hockey, ultimately acting as a stepping stone to the NHL. In this year’s NHL Draft, concerns about his size had him fall to No. 15, where he was selected by the Montreal Canadiens. Caufield is about to show the 14 teams that passed on him why size doesn’t matter. He has unteachable skill and a shot that you simply cannot replicate.
In U-18 play, Caufield broke nearly every record in the goal scoring department there was to break. Caufield’s 72 goals broke the previous record of 55 for the U-18 team that was set by Auston Matthews, selected No. 1 overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2016 NHL Draft. Caufield scored 126 goals in 123 career games with the U-18 team, breaking the previous record of 104 set by Phil Kessel. In the U-18 international tournament, Caufield tied Ovechkin’s single-tournament scoring record of 14 goals. He is my favorite to win the Hobey Baker Award
Alex Turcotte - Wisconsin
It’s safe to say Wisconsin is a serious threat this season. Aside from Caufield, Alex Turcotte is another elite prospect that will make their debut for the Badgers this season. Turcotte is considered a highly competitive, two-way centre with elite vision and playmaking ability. His playmaking ability and vision both compliment his ability to read the ice, where he’s capable of making high-end passes at full speed.
Turcotte like Caufield was also selected in this years NHL Draft except this time, 10 spots higher. He was selected first overall by the L.A. Kings and looks to be headed for Wisconsin for a season before he gets thrown into the fire. It’s safe to assume Caufield and Turcotte, who are actually best friends, will rack of high point production this season.
Alex Limoges - Penn State
If you lead the nation in points and are a part of the nation’s top offensive unit, it is safe to assume you will be in Hobey Baker conversations come March. Alex Limoges is coming off a career year in which he tallied 50 points in 39 games on his way to receiving Big Ten Honors.
Limoges can’t beat you with pure talent, but what has allowed him to thrive so well is the situation he is in. Penn State’s system is all offensive driven and allows players like Limoges to take risks. Penn State ran away for the scoring title a season ago, a large part because of the production from Limoges. He will look to once again play top line minutes and will be asked to manufacture similar production to a year ago. If he plays at all like he did one season ago, look for him to top his 50 point mark and be in the conversation for the Hobey Baker Award.
Kyle Cannillo is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him please email firstname.lastname@example.org.