With the season roughly a third over, it’s time to start taking a look at who the top contenders for the Hobey Baker award are. Every week (or every other week) from now until the end of the season I’ll be unveiling my top contenders for the Hobey.
For first timers, this isn’t necessarily the exact order in which I would vote for the Hobey, but the general idea of whom I consider to be the top contenders:
Jack Connolly, Senior F, Minnesota-Duluth
Connolly was one of the best players in the country on last year’s national championship team, but with Duluth losing three of their best four players, including his two linemates, it was tough to see him or Duluth having the same type of success this year. But with the unenviable task of adjusting to not two but potentially four new linemates as a Senior (he normally plays with TJ Brown and Travis Oleksuk but most recently has been with Mike Seidel and Joe Basaraba), Connolly has helped Duluth do just that. His 1.42 points per game is tied for fourth in the WCHA, and tied for 10th nationally. I’m not one to harp on the leadership and intangibles qualities, but it’s clear that Connolly has brought a ton of just that to this Bulldog squad.
Anders Lee, Sophomore F, Notre Dame
Teammate TJ Tynan has more points than Lee but Lee is the national leader in goals with 12 and the Hobey voters love goals. The main question does seem to be how will they be able to separate each other’s production, but Hobey voters seemed to do a fine job of that last year with Carter Camper and Andy Miele. With the tablesetter getting the plaudits last year perhaps the finisher will this year.
Erik Haula, Sophomore F, Minnesota
Haula is the leading scorer for the #1 team (according to some people) in the country, with 18 points in the team’s first 12 games. His 1.5 points per game is tied for fifth in the country. The Gophers have a lot of players scoring a lot of goals, including Freshman Kyle Rau who has 8 in his first 12 games, but Haula is the guy I’m going with for now.
Joe Cannatta, Senior G, Merrimack
Cannatta hasn’t faced a ton of shots, which could hurt his campaign, but he backstops the lowest scoring defense in the country, has a .940 save percentage and a 1.48 GAA and hasn’t lost yet. Only the first number is an indicator of individual talent, but they all help and if he keeps it up he could be the first goalie Hobey winner since Ryan Miller. Or it could be…
Kent Patterson, Senior G, Minnesota
Patterson has the 6th best save percentage in the country at .935, and is doing it in the WCHA no less, but perhaps more importantly to his Hobey bid he already has 5 shutouts. The national record is 10 in 2000-01 set by Miller, and if Patterson breaks that record and also has a .930 or above save percentage it might be tough to say he doesn’t deserve the Hobey.
TJ Tynan, Sophomore F, Notre Dame
Shaun Hunwick, Senior G, Michigan
Austin Smith, Senior F, Colgate
Chris Kreider, Junior F, Boston College
Nick D’Agostino, Junior D, Cornell