Hobey Baker Watch
With the NCAA’s season turning the corner, the end of the regular season is rapidly approaching. At this point in the season, there are only a handful of players who have hung onto hopes of winning the Hobey Baker Award. The Hobey Baker Award is given annually to the best player in college hockey. Here are some candidates that might have a decent shot of winning this season:
Taro Hirose, F, Michigan State
For the first time this season, Taro Hirose has separated himself from the rest of the pack and has made the strongest case for the prestigious award. The junior forward from Michigan State is tearing up the NCAA.
Practically everything he touches turns to gold. He has 50 points in 32 games, which is a nine point cushion on the rest of the pack. His points per game, 1.57, remains top of the nation.
What makes him the intriguing candidate, however, is simply how valuable he is. If he were to be taken out of the lineup, Michigan State would crumble. The only way the Spartans remain competitive is because of the consistent production that Hirose provides. In fact, he has recorded 22 points in his last 13 games. If anyone wants to snatch the Hobey Baker Award from Hirose, they will need a late season push.
Odeen Tufto, F, Quinnipiac
It is impossible to ignore Odeen Tufto most recent production. For a stretch in January, Tufto without question cooled off. Following Quinnipiac's bye week, however, Tufto has been back to his scoring ways and is dominating the NCAA.
The 22-year-old junior has recorded 10 points in his last six games. Tufto’s goal with 34 seconds left in regulation led Quinnipiac past Rensselaer, 2-1, Saturday. Quinnipiac needs Tufto to be at his best down the stretch if they want any chance to win their first national championship. His 1.3 points per game put him sixth in the nation.
Adam Fox, D, Harvard
College hockey’s best player is not always the one whose point production is around the top. The Hobey Baker Award factors in all around game, leadership and character.
In the past 14 season, only five players with the NCAA’s highest point total actually won the award. Most recently, New Jersey Devils defenseman Will Butcher won the Hobey Baker Award after ranking nowhere near the top in point production. In fact with 37 points in 41 games, Butcher found himself 45th in the nation in point production, far less than his competitors.
After factoring in his all around game, his character and his leadership to the National Championship, the Hobey Baker was awarded to him. The same goes for Harvard defenseman Adam Fox. While maintaining 1.36 points per game, Adam Fox is best known for his consistency on the back end.
For years, Fox has been lugging big minutes for his Harvard team and rarely makes a mistake. His hockey intelligence is among the best in the NCAA and leadership stands out among his teammates. Watch for Adam Fox to be a dark horse to win the Hobey Baker Award.
With conference tournaments just a three weeks away, college hockey’s best have limited time to show why they are most deserving of the Hobey Baker Award. Performances in the conference championship might change the voters minds, but the field will dwindle to around 10 by the time the NCAA tournament begins.
Kyle Cannillo is a freshman studying broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email email@example.com.