Hobey Baker Watch: Week 22
Where did the time go? Another college hockey regular season has come and gone. While that means college hockey is slowly coming to an end, two words are all that are needed for the fun to begin: playoff hockey. While the race to be a national champion is heating up, the race for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the NCAA’s most outstanding player, is also coming down to the wire.
One word that cultivates a Hobey Baker Award winner is leadership. To win the prestigious award, one must be talented on the ice, but also a role model to teammates and fans off the ice. Winning the Hobey Baker Award is an honor.
With time winding down in the NCAA season, the conference and NCAA tournaments are all that is left for the best to make their mark. Here are three candidates that could eventually call themselves Hobey Baker Award winners.
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 52 points in 32 games puts him atop the leaderboard, and he has begun to create separation from the rest of the pack. He has seven more points than the second-highest leading scorer. The Vegas Golden Knights’ fifth-round selection is looking to be a steal.
Most recently against Maine, Dugan tallied a goal and an assist.
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 has collapsed this season and currently sits 21st in the PairWise rankings. Unless Providence can win its conference and make the tournament, Dugan’s chances to win the award would take a hit.
Regardless, if he continues his scoring tear, expect Dugan to be the favorite to win the trophy.
David Farrance, Boston University
The only defender on this list is junior David Farrance from Boston University. Farrance, a New York native, is enjoying a breakout year. He was drafted in the 3rd round by the Nashville Predators, and while he hadn't seen much success in the NCAA his first two years, he is finally seeing the fruits of his labor.
The junior leads all NCAA defensemen with 40 points in 32 games. He finds himself sixth in that category across the entire NCAA. There has been slow improvement for Farrance since his freshman year, but not many could say they saw this coming. After putting up just nine points his freshman year and then 20 his sophomore year, Farrance has now doubled his career total with games in hand.
He has 12 points in his last nine games including a three-game point streak.
Like Dugan on Providence, Farrance’s Boston University has had a down year. Ranking 30th in the PairWise, Boston University’s only chance to make the NCAA tournament must come in the form of a conference championship. If that happens, expect Farrance’s name to be surrounded with more intense Hobey Baker discussions.
Dryden McKay, Minnesota State
One team that has punched its ticket to the NCAA tournament is Dryden McKay’s Minnesota State. A Hobey Baker list is not complete without the sensational sophomore goalie. Without exaggeration, McKay is having one of the most unbelievable seasons for a goalie in recent NCAA history. For that reason, he is right in the thick of the Hobey Baker Award race.
Right now, McKay is a brick wall. 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 .943, his goals-against average is 1.30, and his record sits at a stupendous 28-4-2.
Minnesota State is loading up for a tournament run for the ages. Currently sitting at second 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.