PITTSBURGH — What seemed inevitable by the middle of the season became reality Friday when former Wisconsin forward Cole Caufield was named 2021 winner of the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the top men's player in college hockey.

Caufield, who signed with the Montreal Canadiens organization after the season, completed his sophomore campaign with the Big Ten regular-season champion Badgers with 30 goals and 22 assists for 52 points in 31 games.

The Stevens Point, Wis., native led the nation in goals by 11 and points by five. His 11 power-play goals also were a nation's best, and his five game-winning goals were tied for third. Those totals helped Wisconsin move from last place in the Big Ten in 2019-20 to first this season.

"It obviously means a lot to me and means a lot to my school back in Wisconsin," Caufield said on the NHL Network. "I couldn't be more thankful for this award."

The other two Hobey Baker Hat Trick finalists were Minnesota State Mankato goalie Dryden McKay and North Dakota forward Shane Pinto.