10 Hobey Sleepers for 2012


It’s hard to believe we have to discuss 2012 already given that we’re barely midway through 2011, but here we are. The Hobey Baker award seems to be one place where a genuine sleeper can come out and win the thing. I didn’t see Andy Miele or Matt Frattin on anyone’s Hobey list going into the 2010-11 season, as most people focused (rightfully so, probably) on how Gustav Nyquist was a run away favorite for the award. This year I don’t think there is a huge favorite. Jack Connolly would seem to be the first guy who jumps out, but without Mike Connolly and Justin Fontaine it is tough to see him winning the award. I would (obviously) pick the field over this group of 10, but these 10 guys have a better Hobey shot than you might think:

Danny Kristo, F, North Dakota

It’s tough to call a Sioux player a sleeper for the  Hobey given that rabid fanbase, but Kristo was just 8th on the team in scoring last year and there are some understandable maturity questions around him. Still he had 36 points in 41 games as a Freshman and when he returned from his frostbite injury last year he scored on his first shot. Not bad.

Greg Carey, F, St. Lawrence

Carey had 23 goals to lead ECAC Hockey last year as a Freshman. And he did it for a pretty terrible St. Lawrence team. While he will undoubtedly receive more attention from opponents next year, I think the Saints could make a bit of a jump in the ECAC race with the conference being a bit muddled this year outside of Cornell and Union. If St. Lawrence finishes midpack, and Carey has another 40 point season, he could find his way on the Hobey top 10.

Mike Lee, G, St. Cloud State

Lee was 37th in the country in save percentage last year, but was 4th in the WCHA in save percentage in conference games. With the Huskies losing only two defensemen Lee will get to play in back of a more experienced group of blueliners and that will not only help his poor GAA but also will also hopefully influence his save percentage.

Jeremy Welsh, F, Union

Welsh had 16 goals and 37 points for the ECAC champs last year, ranking  T-9th and 9th in the conference respectively. The one thing undermining his sleeper status the most is the glut of forwards he will have to compete with: Union welcomes back Kelly Zajac (13 goals, 42 points), Daniel Carr (20, 35) and Josh Jooris (9, 32). Union figures to be co-favorites in ECAC Hockey, so there’s no doubt someone from the team will get some Hobey pub, it’s just a matter of who.

Matt Gingera, F, Sacred Heart

Seemingly every year an upperclassman in Atlantic Hockey puts up absurd point totals. My guess for this year’s is Gingera, who had 21 goals last year, .66 per game for Sacred Heart. His downfall was only having 9 assists, which led to him being only 22nd in points per game in Atlantic Hockey. Most of it was that Sacred Heart was 10 in the league in scoring, notching only 2.57 goals per game. Still, the team had 95 goals all year and Gingera had 21 of them. That’s a pretty good ratio regardless of the team or league.

TJ Tynan, Notre Dame

A guy who was one of the best Freshmen in the country probably shouldn’t be a Hobey sleeper, but I haven’t heard too much talk surrounding Tynan. He had 23 goals and 54 points for the Irish, who (spoiler alert) will probably lead off my preseason rankings next year. That alone makes him a viable Hobey candidate. Tynan got grabbed in the 3rd round of the NHL Draft this year in his second go around, and while he’s a bit undersized he has some of the best skating ability in college hockey.

Alex Hudson, F, Nebraska-Omaha

Omaha has a lot of scoring to replace from last year, as Joey Martin (35 pts), Matt Ambroz (34) and Rich Purslow (33) are all gone. Hudson, who had 13 goals and 31 points, is the leading returning scorer for the Mavs, who were 17th nationally and 3rd in the WCHA in scoring offense. With a solid group of recruits coming in, Hudson could be the best player on a very good team, and get some leadership bonus points.

Spencer Abbott, F, Maine

Playing with Gustav Nyquist last year, Abbott was very under the radar. The incoming Senior more than held his own however, scoring 17 goals and notching 40 points last year. He ranked tied for 33rd nationally in points per game, and with Nyquist and Tanner House gone, he is now the main (pun intended?) man in Orono.

Andrew Miller, F, Yale

While the Bulldogs won’t be favorites in ECAC Hockey this year, they still have a lot of offensive firepower returning. Miller’s 4 game winning goals tied for the Yale lead and he was 18th in the country in points per game last year. He got a lot of those points via the assist and the Hobey is more of a goal scorers award so he is a bit of a longshot, but I bet he will pile up the points again.

Nick Bailen, D, RPI

Bailen’s .95 points per game were 3rd among defensemen last year and he was 24th in the entire country in assists per game. His 8 goals will need to be be approved upon if he wants to break into the Hobey top 10 (especially with Justin Schultz looking like a near lock) but he seems the best bet to get there.