Hobey Baker Watch
Fan voting has closed for the 2019 Hobey Baker Award. With the announcement of 10 semifinalist candidates just under one week away, let’s look at who the selected individuals may be, and who has the best chance at walking away with college hockey’s best individual honor.
Corey Mackin, Forward, Ferris State
Corey Mackin and Ferris State alike have failed to stick out this season. The Bulldogs are currently ranked 57 in the Pairwise Ranking, and Mackin has a mere 25 points in his 2018-2019 campaign.
With that said, Mackin still managed to win 12.9 percent of the fan vote, a higher total than any other nominee. The Hobey Baker website claims fan voting can become crucial, so do not be surprised if Mackin manages to win election into the top 10.
Cale Makar, Defenseman, UMass
Cale Makar is the only other nominee to manage more than 10 percent of the fan vote. He has been one of college hockey’s best defenseman on the season.
Makar is captaining a UMass team conceding just over two goals per game, good for sixth best in the NCAA. He has also chipped in on the nation’s third-best offense. In fact, Makar’s 42 points are the second most points among college hockey defensemen.
Not to mention, Makar’s plus-minus rating of plus-28 is also second in the nation.
Jimmy Schuldt, Defenseman, St. Cloud State
St. Cloud State has clearly been the most complete team in college hockey thus far. Captain Jimmy Schuldt has led the way for the Huskies. His incredible leadership in the locker room has made him a fan favorite.
Schuldt has also led the Huskies’ altered defensive mindset under new coach Brett Larson. Schuldt has been breaking pucks out of the defensive zone much faster than under former coach Bob Motzko, in order to bring more energy forward to create scoring chances.
Perhaps this altered mindset will allow Schuldt to crack the top 10 nominees list for the second straight season and perhaps even propel him to greater heights in taking the honor home.
Chase Priskie, Defenseman, Quinnipiac
The No. 5 Quinnipiac Bobcats are the only NCAA team to be ranked in the top four in both scoring offense and scoring defense. This is partially due to the two-way play of defenseman Chase Priskie.
Priskie has helped lead the way for Quinnipiac with 39 points in 34 games. His 17 goals and 10 power play goals lead all college hockey defensemen.
Taro Hirose, Forward, Michigan State
Speaking of scoring, there is no one better than Michigan State’s Taro Hirose. Hirose leads all of college hockey with 50 points.
Though the Spartans had a rough season, it had little to do with Hirose. Hirose is one of three nominees for Big Ten player of the year.
Quinn Hughes, Defenseman, Michigan
Another nominee for Big Ten Player of the Year, along with Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, is Quinn Hughes of Michigan.
While it has been a disappointing season for a Wolverines squad who is one season removed from a Frozen Four appearance, Hughes has certainly had a nice 2018-2019 campaign. He remains an elite level skater, whose 28 assists are tied for fourth best among defensemen.
Hughes is also an incredibly disciplined player. Despite the occasional turnover hiccup, his 16 penalty minutes on the season are among the fewest of any Hobey Baker nominee.
Adam Fox, Defenseman, Harvard
Speaking of disciplined defensemen who contribute on the attack, Adam Fox also fits the description even better than Hughes.
Only accumulating 14 penalty minutes to go alongside 32 assists, Fox has been outstanding this season. His 1.38 points per game are the highest among defensemen and the fourth-highest among all players.
Johnny Walker, Forward, Arizona State
Arizona State certainly is not the first school you think of developing elite talent. However, after an impressive season resulting in the program’s first NCAA tournament berth, Johnny Walker has made a great case for becoming a top 10 nominee.
Walker is currently tied for second in the country with 23 goals on the season. It is worth noting, though, that due to injuries and a lack of a conference tournament, Walker has played in fewer games than anyone in the top 15.
Walker also lights the lamp at a higher rate than any college hockey player, averaging 0.74 goals per game.
Alex Limoges, Forward, Penn State
It was surprising to see Alex Limoges left off the Big Ten Player of the Year list. Hopefully the same will not be true for the Hobey Baker nominees.
Limoges is college hockey’s second-leading scorer with 48 points on the season. He leads the best offense in college hockey by a landslide in addition to coming up with clutch plays on both ends of the ice for the Nittany Lions this season.
Marc Michaelis, Forward, Minnesota State
Marc Michaelis, much like the rest of Minnesota State, is quietly having a great season.
His 39 points headlines the nation’s No. 5 ranked scoring offense. He also received a significant amount of the fan vote, at 3.3 percent.
Andre Magaro is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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