If you’re a fan of defenseman, you’ll likely be a fan of the 10 candidates for the Hobey Baker Award announced Wednesday.
A record six blue-liners, including St. Cloud State’s Jimmy Schuldt, were among the final 10 finalists for the award that goes to the top player in college hockey. The other four spots went to forwards, including St. Cloud State’s Patrick Newell. No goalies were among the finalists.
The finalists were selected by voting of all 60 Division I men’s head coaches plus online fan balloting. The winner will be picked by a 29-member selection committee, plus online voting from March 21-31 at hobeybaker.com. The Hobey Hat Trick of three finalists will be announced April 4, and the award winner will be announced on NHL Network at 5 p.m. (Central) April 12 in Buffalo, N.Y., during Frozen Four weekend.
Schuldt, a senior from Minnetonka, is the only repeat finalist. The leading scoring among NCHC defensemen with 10 goals and 23 assists, Schuldt helped lead the Huskies to the regular-season conference title and No. 1 ranking for most of the season. He is a finalist for NCHC player of the year, which will be announced Thursday.
Newell, a senior from Thousand Oaks, Calif., is the NCHC scoring champion (19-24—43) and has a nation’s-best plus-32 rating. His six game-winning goals rank third in the nation.
A look at the other finalists:
Joe Duszak, D, Mercyhurst: The junior led Atlantic Hockey and ranks third nationally in scoring (16-31—47). He signed a free-agent contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Adam Fox, D, Harvard: The junior, a two-time All-America selection even before this season, leads the nation in assists (37) and points per game (1.48).
Taro Hirose, F, Michigan State: The Big Ten’s leading scorer (15-35—50) was named conference player of the year. He signed a free-agent deal with the Detroit Red Wings.
Quinn Hughes, D, Michigan: The speedy sophomore and No. 7 overall draft pick by Vancouver, has signed with the Canucks. He had five goals and 28 assists on his way to winning Big Ten defensive player of the year honors.
Mason Jobst, F, Ohio State: The senior has 17 goals and 19 assists this season for the Big Ten-champion Buckeyes. He’s the leading active scorer in NCAA Division I hockey with 164 points in 149 games.
Cale Makar, D, Massachusetts: The sophomore had 15 goals and 31 assists and led the Minutemen to their first Hockey East regular-season title.
Chase Priskie, D, Quinnipiac: The senior has a nation’s-best 17 goals for a defenseman, and his 10 power-play goals are tied for first among all players.
Nico Sturm, F, Clarkson: The junior has 14 goals and 29 assists and is a finalist for ECAC player of the year.