Another freshman leads the way in mock balloting

Kyle Connor leads the country with 54 points (photo: Michael Dubicki).

We’re kicking off Hobey Watch with a panel of USCHO writers voting the top five contenders for this season’s Hobey Baker Award.

Six USCHO writers, one covering each of the Division I men’s conferences, picked their top five players nationally, with a first-place vote counting for five points, a second-place vote providing four points, and so on.

We’ll update this weekly as the candidates’ stock rises and falls.

1. Kyle Connor, Michigan

Could a freshman win the award for the second year in a row? Connor is certainly making his case, leading the nation with 54 points on 26 goals and 28 assists. His 1.80 points per game is slightly ahead of the pace that Jack Eichel set last year (1.77).

2. Jimmy Vesey, Harvard

The lone holdover from last season’s Hobey Hat Trick, Vesey has seen his numbers fall a bit below last season’s. Still, he’s 10th in the nation in scoring and has five game-winning goals.

3. Tyler Motte, Michigan

Connor’s linemate, Motte leads the nation with 29 goals. He’s also strong in his own end, recording 57 blocked shots so far.

4. Alex Lyon, Yale

When will another goalie take home the Hobey? It’s been 15 years since Ryan Miller was honored in a season that saw him post a .950 save percentage and a 1.32 GAA. Lyon’s numbers are in the same ballpark, leading the nation in save percentage (.941) and GAA (1.51).

5. Thatcher Demko, Boston College

The junior has posted nine shutouts this season, tops in Division I. He’s tied for third in wins (23), and is alone in third for save percentage (.937) and GAA (1.77).

Others receiving votes: JT Compher, Michigan; Kevin Boyle, UMass-Lowell; Michael Garteig, Quinnipiac; Kalle Kossila, St. Cloud State; Andrew Poturalski, New Hampshire; Jake Guentzel, Omaha; Greg Gibson, Robert Morris; Ethan Prow, St. Cloud State; Zac Lynch, Robert Morris.

Our panel includes current and former Hobey voters.

The 10 nominees as selected by a vote of coaches and a separate fan vote will be announced on March 17. Voting by the selection committee happens on March 28 and 29, with the Hobey Hat Trick announced on March 31.

The winner will be announced on April 8 at a ceremony at the Tampa Theatre during the Frozen Four.

1 COMMENT

      • One of the reasons for BC hockey’s elite status is the fact that no parent anywhere who knows even slightest thing about Coach York would not die for their kid to play for him.  He’s the very model of character and class, and has fashoned a program that reflects those qualities in spades.

  1. Think Garteig deserves better, but I really don’t know who you take out of that 5. One of the best Hobey classes I can recall.

    • Lyon, Johnson, and Demko have a little separation from Garteig on sV%, Johnson and Lyon have it on GAA, while Demko and Garteig have it on shut outs. Garteig also deserves kudos for his minutes. Dryden and Richter Awards should be interesting. I’ll guess Demko and Johnson.

    • It really is. All five of those guys deserve serious recognition as well as others. Boeser and Cam Johnson from North Dakota, Jake Guentzel from Omaha, Heinen and Moore from Denver, French from Bentley, Kelleher and Poultarsky from UNH.

  2. I haven’t seen Connor play. Can he take over a game like Eichel was able to do at times last year? I’m not an Eichel fan btw, I think the kid was arrogant, lazy, and played whenever he felt like it was appropriate. His hockey skills were one of a kind for sure…..but he is Johnny Manziel in waiting.

    • I thought Eichel was more impresssive the times I saw him play last year. However I don’t think Connor is too far behind — granted, I’ve seen him against the Gophers a couple times when they just flat-out collapsed (i.e. Friday night games).

      I think Eichel has already accomplished more than Manziel in their pro careers, but really don’t know much about him off the rink.

  3. Surprised to not see Sam Anas of QU on this list… top scorer on the top team in the country. I haven’t seen Kyle play, but on paper… a weak bottom end of the Big Ten, plus 3/4 of their non conference games against Atlantic Hockey makes me want to see him play against some better defensive corps before he gets the unanimous vote. Eichel played in the toughest conference at the time and was an absolute game changer almost every time he touched the ice. Should be interesting to see how it pans out either way.

  4. Sorry, sorry…. I have to be that token North Dakota fan…. same kind of thought process as collegehockeyfan’s thought of Sam Anas… top scorer on the No. 2 team in the nation… Brock Boeser, anyone? :)

    Boeser is leading arguably the best conference in the country in goals and points. Connor plays in the Big 10. Not saying what he has done isn’t impressive, because it is, but that conference isn’t very good top to bottom.

    Also, leaving Cam Johnson off the list while Lyon and Demko are on there is a bit unfair. Johnson has better stats than Demko and is just behind Lyon, while leading all goalie stats for a large portion of the season.

    Hard to poo poo anyone on this list, but I felt it necessary to give my boys a shoutout :)

    • Valid point. Maybe they’re just going to make that pick in the NCHC picks blog, but usually they do it in both if its a non-conference game.

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