Division I college hockey is entering the stretch run. The Regular season is winding down, and there’s roughly three-to-four weeks left until the conference tourneys begin. Crunch time is here, college hockey teams are preparing for the conference playoffs, and hopefully a run through the NCAA playoffs.
Like many college hockey fans, I have been following the discussion surrounding the Hobey Baker Memorial Award. It’s the same thing every year. First you have the fan voting. Then throw in the discussion by college hockey pundits, who give their narration on who’s the best candidates for the Hobey Baker.
Johnny Gaudreau the front runner for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award
I can save everyone a lot of bandwidth this season. Sure, we can debate this till the Frozen Four, but I think it’s pretty evident who’s going to win the prestigious Hobey Baker Memorial award this season. While, I could be wrong, I don’t think the voting is going to be very close this year.
I think the discussion we should be having – who’s going to be the other two finalists sitting next to him during the awards ceremony. They announce the Hobey Baker Memorial Award during the Frozen Four at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 11, 2014. I don’t think we will be shocked with this year’s selection, at least not the winner.
Boston College Eagles forward Johnny Gaudreau (25g-33a—58pts) is the best player statistically in college hockey this season, hands down. If Gaudreau doesn’t win the Hobey Baker Memorial Award this season, by a very wide margin, I am going to be shocked. In this case, I don’t see him losing the western voters, not this year.
Eagles top line is the best in college hockey
The diminutive junior forward from Carney’s Point, New Jersey, is the best player statistically, on the best line in college hockey. This season, Gaudreau has been paired with senior forwards Kevin Hayes (21g-27a—48pts) and Bill Arnold (11g-31a—42pts) and they’ve given Hockey East goalies fits.
Gaudreau and his line mates occupy three of the top four spots nationally in scoring race and they have racked up an amazing (57g-91a—148pts) in 29 games. Gaudreau has been smoking hot as of late, scoring (11g-16sa—27pts) during the New Year.
The Eagles are also red hot right now, going 14-0-1 in their last 15 games. They are scoring an eye popping 4.53 goals per game and giving up only 1.67 goals against.
Gaudreau helps Eagles beat Huskies in Beanpot final
This past week, in the championship game of the Beanpot, Gaudreau and the Eagles put three goals past Northeastern goalie Clay Witt (14-8-2, .945 SV%, 2.28 GAA). That’s no small feat, Witt is one of the best goalies in Hockey East, if not the Nation. During the championship game Gaudreau had a (1g-1a-2pts) leading the Eagles to a 4-1 victory.
The future is very bright for Gaudreau, who was drafted by the Calgary Flames, 104th overall in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The Flames management has to be licking their lips with anticipation of him joining their line-up. Checking out the various fans message boards, it sounds like Calgary fans are very excited to see him in a Flames uniform as well.
Hockey’s Future – Johnny Gaudreau has really quick hands, shifty moves, explosive speed and this really small centerman could stickhandle in a phone booth. He has the determination and big time skill to prove the doubters wrong about his size, similar to Martin St. Louis. The teenager can make bigger players miss their checks while sliding off them with his elite edge control and quick skating. The small player will need to add muscle mass and weight to be able to play at the more physical NHL Level but he has time to mature. Gaudreau has scored goals at every level of hockey as he’s a pure scorer which is an asset that can’t be taught.
Going forward, we wait, as the Hobey Baker selection committee will cut the field to 10 candidates and then to three. I would bet that Gaudreau will be one of the three finalists to make the Hobey Hat trick. I am putting my money on the junior forward from Carney’s Point, New Jersey. Mark it down, that’s going to be your 2014 Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner. Count on it.
Eric is a 1996, 1999 graduate of the University of North Dakota. Eric covers the University of North Dakota Hockey and Division I college hockey. Eric is the Contributing Editor for Inside Hockey.