Hobey Baker Watch: Week 1

Story posted October 1, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Maclain Young

This season of NCAA hockey is full of highly drafted NHL talent returning to school to compete for the Frozen Four.

 

It is safe to assume the competition for college hockey’s most prestigious award will rival that of the battle between teams fighting for a national title.

The first player to keep an eye on is the No. 1 overall selection from this past year’s NHL entry draft, Owen Power.

Power is a 6-foot-5 defenseman who has a strong offensive skillset and puck handling abilities. 

He also uses his large body and length to be a major disruptor in the defensive zone.

Power will look to stand out while on a loaded Michigan squad in his second college season.

Next up is a Hobey Baker finalist from last season in Minnesota goaltender Jack LaFontaine. 

LaFontaine also won the Mike Richter Award as the nation's top goaltender in 2020-2021 and was a first team All-American selection.

The Gophers are poised to be a top-five team in the nation and serious national championship contenders. 

If LaFontaine is able to lead his squad to a Big Ten title over the likes of a loaded Michigan squad, he will be in serious contention for the Hobey Baker Award.

Another goaltender that could receive Hobey Baker award consideration is Minnesota State’s Dryden McKay. The senior backstop for the Mavericks was also a Hobey Baker Award finalist last season after posting ridiculous numbers.

In 26 starts, McKay had a 1.54 goals-against average and a whopping 10 shutouts. Minnesota State is ranked in the top five in the nation to start the season, so McKay will have the opportunity to be the best player on one of the best teams.

Another Michigan forward, and top-five draft pick, to watch out for is Matt Beniers. Beniers possesses many of the skills NHL executives crave in a modern-day center with his speed and shiftiness with the puck on his stick.

Beniers will have a similar task as teammate Owen Power in needing to stand out on a stacked team in order to receive Hobey Baker Award consideration. He will look to do so with his goal-scoring ability after notching 10 goals in 24 games last season.

One final top-five draft pick to keep tabs on is North Dakota defenseman, Jake Sanderson. The Ottawa Senators selection is extremely talented offensively and will look to use that talent to put together a Hobey Baker Award winning campaign.

Despite his obvious talent and skill on the ice, Sanderson will have to up his numbers in the box score if he wants to be considered as the nation’s best player. The sophomore defenseman had just two goals last season.

It is hard to pick a clear-cut favorite to win this year’s Hobey Baker Award as there are many young, highly skilled players who could end up standing out from the rest. What is certain is that this will be one of the most talent-filled NCAA hockey seasons in recent memory.

 

Maclain Young is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email macyoung21@gmail.com.