Hobey Baker Watch: Week 1

Story posted 6 days ago in Sports, CommRadio by Matthew McLaughlin

Over its 40-year history, the Hobey Baker Award has transformed into one of the most prestigious trophies in collegiate athletics, and this year’s race shapes up to be one of the most intriguing races ever. With schedules set up in phases and teams playing back-to-backs, these will be the biggest names to keep an eye on to win college hockey’s top honor.

Owen Power, D, Michigan

Starting our list is the 6-foot-5-inch, 214-pound, 17 year-old monster from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Power’s combination of size and speed is rare in a defenseman, and his touch with the puck is incredible.

Power’s skill set and frame has drawn comparisons to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Victor Headman and Hall of Famer Chris Pronger, and he’s been backing up the comparisons with three points (one goal, two assists) in two games through the start of this season.

On a team stacked with potential draft picks, defenses can’t focus their entire defensive strategy on Power, which will open up plenty of scoring opportunities and could lead to a record-setting year from the Michigan defenseman.

Spencer Knight, G, Boston College

In between the pipes for the Eagles, Knight is a rare talent that can enter serious consideration for the Hobey Baker Award, despite the fact that only two goalies (Ryan Miller in 2001 and Robb Stauber in 1988) have won the award.

Over the course of his career, Knight has steadily improved in virtually every category at different levels of competition. The only year he’s finished with below a 90% save rate was 2017-18 for the U.S. National Under 18 Team, but Knight still finished with a 6-1 record.

Simply put, Knight is head and shoulders above the rest of the goaltenders in the nation, so don’t be surprised to hear his name in contention.

Cole Caufield, RW, Wisconsin

Caufield, the No. 15 overall pick for the Montreal Canadiens in last year’s entry draft, powered Wisconsin’s offense last season and finished first in scoring among Big Ten freshmen. Caufield is poised for an even better season this time around.

Wisconsin has already started its season with a series sweep over Notre Dame, in which the Badgers lit up the Fighting Irish for a combined seven goals. Caufield tallied two assists in the series, which may not seem like much, but as the season progresses, Caufield will get his scoring opportunities, especially against Penn State, which lost star goaltender Peyton Jones to graduation.

Dark Horse: Bobby Brink, RW, Denver

While Denver may not be the biggest name in college hockey, Brink cuts and slices his way past defenders and can rack up goals in a hurry with this fast-paced squad.

Last season, Brink arrived in his freshman year with a bang by putting up 24 points in 28 games.

With weak opponents like Colorado College and Miami of Ohio filling up the majority of Denver’s schedule, Brink will take an even bigger step forward in his offensive production and could hop to the front of the line if Power and other top prospects struggle this season.

 

Matthew McLaughlin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email mem6936@psu.edu.