Johnny Gaudreau too good not to win Hobey Baker Award

Brian Costello
Notre Dame v Boston College

College hockey fans can be part of the process in helping select this year’s winner of the Hobey Baker Memorial Award. But in reality, the award doesn’t belong in anyone’s hands other than the player they call Johnny Hockey.

Johnny Gaudreau is a Calgary Flames fourth-round pick from 2011 and is averaging two points per game, registering a point in all but one outing this season. And that was way back in October against Minnesota.

The 5-foot-8, 159-pounder was the 50th-ranked prospect in Future Watch 2013 and should crack the top 20 this year. (We’re working on the Future Watch project now.) Gaudreau is expected to forsake his fourth year at Boston College and turn pro with the Flames this spring. Quite frankly, he has nothing left to prove at the college level other than to complete his degree, which he can do during the next few summers.

In fact, Gaudreau considered turning pro last summer, but the opportunity to play on the same team with freshman brother Matt Gaudreau was too irresistible.

It’s been a dominating show of force for Johnny Hockey and the second-ranked Eagles. (Minnesota Golden Gophers are firmly secure in the No. 1 spot.)

Gaudreau is the centerpiece of easily the best line in the NCAA this season. The Boston College trio of center Bill Arnold and wingers Gaudreau and Kevin Hayes are among the top five scorers in the U.S. college game.

Arnold was a fourth round pick of Calgary in 2010, the same year Chicago made Hayes the 24th overall selection.

Arnold is the two-way playmaking center and Hayes the power forward triggerman. Gaudreau can do it all, controlling the puck on his stick as though it’s attached to the black tape. Check out a couple Gaudreau highlights from this season.

“That Eagles line has been so dominating,” one scout told me, “coach Jerry York sometimes shortens the bench late in one-sided games giving them less ice time, so not to run up the score. You should really fly down there and catch a game if you get a chance.”

There’s a pipe dream among Calgary fans that the Flames should seek to acquire Hayes from the Blackhawks as both he and Arnold are completing their senior seasons. Then all three could turn pro on a line together.

Fans can vote as part of the Hobey Baker Award selection process. NCAA coaches nominate the top three players in their league and the top three players in the nation. At this time, fans can now vote online to help determine the top 10 candidates.

Then there’s another selection process to narrow the field from 10 to three. The committee is a geographically balanced group of 27 coaches, officials, scouts and media. Fans can also vote as part of this process, but the weight of their influence is a fraction compared to the committee. That’s due to the fact the online voting becomes more a popularity contest by school students rather than a true measure of merit.

A winner is then named from the three finalists during Frozen Four festivities in Philadelphia April 11.

There are 68 players currently on the ballot. Here are the top 10 vote-getters followed by a handful more on the bubble. Fans can vote online once every 24 hours.

Past winners of the Hobey Baker Award include Ryan Miller (2001), Jordan Leopold (2002) and Matt Carle (2006).

HOBEY BAKER AWARD FAN BALLOTING

Rk, Player, NCAA team, Votes

1. Ryan Faragher, St. Cloud, 7,610

2. Shayne Gostibehere, Union, 7,311

3. Ben Hutton, Maine, 7,168

4. Johnny Gaudreau, Boston College, 6,988

5. Adam Wilcox, Minnesota, 4,049

6. Ross Mauermann, Providence, 2,955

7. Ryan Haggerty, RPI, 2,902

8. Michael Mersch, Wisconsin, 2,734

9. Trevor van Riemsdyk, New Hampshire, 2,719

10. Dillon Simpson, North Dakota, 2,708

11. Devin Shore, Maine, 2,678

12. Jimmy Vesey, Harvard, 2,344

13. Connor Jones, Quinnipiac, 2,179

14. Josh Archibald, Nebraska-Omaha, 1,645

15. Andrew Copp, Michigan, 1,634

16. Bill Arnold, Boston College, 1,569

 

Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blogFor more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazineFollow Brian Costello on Twitter at @BCostelloTHN