Hobey Baker Watch: Week 1
College hockey is back, and on display is some of the best talent this sport has ever had to offer. Although it’s early in the season, it is never too early to take a look at this year’s potential Hobey Baker Award winners. Every year, 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.
Last week, we highlighted two Wisconsin Badgers (Cole Caufield and Alex Turcotte) and one Penn State Nittany Lion (Alex Limoges). This week, we will introduce a few more impact players that are in the conversation for the Hobey Baker.
Cole Caufield, Wisconsin
There is zero reason to remove the 5-foot-7-inch Cole Caufield from this list. Although it was just an exhibition game that Caufield participated in last week, he did what he does best: score. He didn’t just score once, or even twice. Caufield potted a hat trick. His goal scoring ability is unprecedented. Without exaggeration, Caufield has the potential to put up one of the best seasons in college hockey history.
Caufield has what it takes to be a stud in college hockey, and his performance could ultimately act 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. In U18 play, Caufield broke nearly every record that there was to break in the goal scoring department. His 72 goals broke the previous U18 record of 55 by Auston Matthews, who was selected No. 1 overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2016 NHL draft. He is still the favorite to win the Hobey Baker Award.
Cam York, Michigan
Selected by the Flyers just one spot ahead of USA Hockey National Team Development Program teammate Caufield in the 2019 NHL draft, defenseman Cam York is another Big Ten foe that can create some noise in the Hobey Baker Award conversation this season. Again, while it might just have been an exhibition game, York looked like the talent the Wolverines are starving for, scoring an unbelievable between-the-legs backhand goal that caught attention around the NCAA.
With the departure of Quinn Hughes, York becomes the “star talent” on Michigan’s backend. York has impressive hockey sense and his overall skill level is high. Furthermore, he is very mobile, has a good passing game and possesses a quick release. Defensively, York is solid with an active stick and strong positioning. If the Wolverines wants any chance to remain competitive in the Big Ten, they will need a big season out of Cam York.
Johnny Walker, Arizona State
Arizona State’s Cinderella story last year came largely on the back of elite goal scorer Johnny Walker. There is no reason to believe he is slowing down. Walker has already shined early in exhibition this season. Last weekend, against a respectable Mercyhurst team, Walker tallied two goals and five points in two games.
Last season, Walker lead the NCAA in goals for a larger portion of the season but finished on a cold streak. Still, his 23 goals in 39 games was good enough to finish tied for second in the nation. The NCAA’s leading goal scorer usually hovers around 30 goals in a season. It would not be a surprise if Walker hits that milestone in 2019-20 and propels himself into Hobey Baker Award conversation.
Kyle Cannillo is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Junior / Journalism
Kyle Cannillo is involved with CommRadio at Penn State University, producing content such as writing articles, hosting podcasts, participating in live shows and broadcasting play-by-play for Penn State athletics. He is currently a production assistant for Penn State Athletics, doing live video production for BTN + and University Streams. He previously interned with CBS station WTAJ, where he received hands on-experience in all newsroom operations, including reporting, production, camerawork and sports. He has high hopes to be successful in a communication-related career. He is skilled in public speaking, takes initiative, and has a tenacious work ethic. His mission is to use optimism, determination and respect to uncover and report fascinating stories from people who have genuine experiences.