Hobey Baker Watch: Week 15
The puck has dropped on the new year, and the college hockey season has just surpassed its halfway point. The Hobey Baker Award, given to the NCAA’s best player, is as highly contested as ever. New year, new candidates?
As the season has progressed, the race for the award has narrowed the field to only a handful of worthy applicants. Some specialize in scoring, some specialize in defending, and some can do a little bit of both. In this article, we will list three players who have put their hat in the ring, outperformed the best, and could eventually win the award.
Jack Dugan, Providence
If there's one player that has separated himself from the rest of the Hobey Baker race, it has to be Providence sophomore forward Jack Dugan. The NCAA leader in points has been the most consistent player from start to finish all season long.
Dugan’s 41 points in 23 games puts him atop the leaderboard, and he has begun to create separation from the rest of the pack. He has six more points than the second-highest leading scorer. The Vegas Golden Knights’ fifth-round selection is looking to be a steal.
Most recently against Connecticut, Dugan was held off the scoresheet for just the fourth time this year. However, in the game before that against a American International, Dugan had four primary assists in a 5-0 win.
It has become an unwritten rule in hockey, but, like the NHL’s Hart Memorial Trophy, the Hobey Baker Award has almost always been given to a player on a team that qualifies for the postseason. Providence currently sits 11th in the PairWise rankings, which is significant for Dugan’s award chances.
Regardless, if he continues his scoring tear, expect Dugan to be the favorite to win the trophy come March.
Mike Lee, Sacred Heart
Nobody would have predicted this.
Sacred Heart senior defenseman Mike Lee is having quite the season for a surprising team. The reason Mike Lee is on this list is because of what he has been able to do on both ends of the ice.
Not only does Mike Lee lead the Pioneers in points as a defender, but he also has the NCAA’s best plus/minus with a plus-23. Lee has proven that when he steps on the ice, he is one of the most reliable players in the entire country.
His story is quite fascinating. Lee started his collegiate career with Vermont. In his freshman campaign, he played a 36-game season with a disappointing total of only three points and a plus/minus margin of minus-4. Following his transfer to Sacred Heart in his junior year, Lee has looked like a completely different player and has developed nicely.
Lee is currently on a three-game point streak and has 24 points in 21 games.
Dryden McKay, Minnesota State
A Hobey Baker list is not complete without the sensational Minnesota State goalie Dryden McKay. Without exaggeration, McKay is having one of the most unbelievable seasons for a goalie in NCAA history. For that reason, he is right in the thick of the Hobey Baker Award race.
Right now, the sophomore goalie is a human cheat code. He has played all but one game this season, and his consistency has been off the charts. McKay leads the NCAA in every goaltending category. His save percentage is .950, his goals-against average is 1.08, and his stupendous record sits at 19-1-2.
Minnesota State is loading up for a tournament run for the ages. Currently sitting at third in the PairWise, anything less than a Frozen Four or even a national championship appearance would be a disappointment.
If McKay continues this outstanding play, expect him to be in the heart of the conversation for the Hobey Baker Award.
Kyle Cannillo is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.