Hobey Baker Watch: Week 9
Although it’s still too early to make any outright presumptions, it’s pretty safe to say that there are a few clear front-runners for the Hobey Baker Award at this point in the college hockey season. With Penn State’s Alex Limoges and Evan Barratt hanging on to the one and two spots in the points race, Penn State’s chances of a Hobey Baker nominee continue to look skyward.
Johnny Walker, on the other hand, has fallen down the list slightly after scoring only one goal in his last six games, but with 18 games left in Arizona State’s season, there is still plenty of time for Walker to go on another goal-scoring tear.
One thing that is being largely overlooked in the Hobey Baker talk is the possibility of the award going to a defenseman for the second time in three years. Defensemen are popping up all over the three major offensive categories with one in the top five for goals scored, five in the top ten for assists and two in the top ten for points overall. It seems to be the year of the offensive defenseman in college hockey.
So, this week, the Hobey Baker list will consist of the defensemen with the best shot at the best trophy in college hockey.
Chase Priskie - D - Quinnipiac
The senior captain from Pembroke Pines, FL leads the NCAA in game-winning goals with five of them and is tied for third in goals scored with 11. Anchoring Quinnipiac’s defense with Brandon Fortunato, Priskie is a large part of the team’s No. 9 rating in the Pairwise rankings. To go along with his goal scoring prowess, he also boasts four assists, eight powerplay goals and a plus-minus rating of plus-nine. Quinnipiac will have a tough test in its series with No. 1 Massachusetts this weekend.
Adam Fox - D - Harvard
What separates Fox from the rest of the defensemen on this list is the fact that he plays for Harvard. Why does that matter? Ivy League schools start their season later in the year, which means fewer games played, making Fox’s five goals and 15 assists all the more impressive.
With Harvard playing only ten games thus far, that gives the junior blueliner a point per game average of 2.00. If he can keep his numbers where they are now for the rest of the season, he will be far ahead of even the top forwards in that category.
Quinn Hughes - D - Michigan
Hughes, only a sophomore, is tied for second for assists in the 2018-19 season. Ironically, the Vancouver Canucks prospect has more game-winning goals (2) than he has game-winning assists (1).
With 19 total points, Hughes is also tied for ninth in the scoring race, just six points behind Limoges and Barratt. With Michigan being unranked and nearly 30th in the Pairwise, Hughes still lacks the “helping team to key wins” intangible.
Cale Makar - D - Massachusetts
Last on the list of potential Hobey Baker defenseman is sophomore Cale Makar. Granted, him making the list is partially attributed to the success of his No. 1 ranked team, but he also has the numbers to back it up.
With six goals, 12 assists and a 1.38 points per game average, one big weekend could shoot him straight to the top. That weekend could be this weekend, too, when Massachusetts takes on Quinnipiac in the college hockey series of the week.
Nathan Pullen is a journalism major at Penn State. To contact him, email him at email@example.com.