Jack Eichel (No. 9) makes Team USA an instant contender at the 2015 world juniors.(Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
The 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award as top men’s NCAA player have been announced, with Boston University star and highly-coveted prospect Jack Eichel headlining the list. The Hobey Baker winner will be announced on April 10 in Boston.
There is no award more prestigious in college hockey than the Hobey Baker Award as the best men’s player in all of the NCAA. Today, the balloting results from the coaches and fans are in, and the top 10 for nominees for the award have been announced.
The most notable name of the bunch is Boston University’s Jack Eichel, one of the most sought after players in the upcoming draft and considered by some to be worthy of the first overall selection. Though Eichel makes the list, he didn’t win the fan balloting, but still has a great shot at taking home the hardware as the best men’s player in NCAA Division I hockey.
Jack Eichel, C, Boston University: Eichel had the most offensively productive season of any player in the NCAA this season. With 20 goals and 61 points in 34 games, he ran roughshod over the competition like few players his age have been able to in the college circuit. The Terriers went 23-7-5 overall this season, including a 14-5-3 record within Hockey East. They finished first overall in Hockey East, and won the Beanpot.
Zach Hyman, C, University of Michigan: Hyman, a Toronto native, is in his senior year at Michigan. Selected in the fifth round, 123rd overall, by the Florida Panthers in 2010, Hyman registered 19 goals and 49 points this season and had 14 multi-point games in 2014-15. Michigan finished third in the Big Ten with a 20-14-0 record overall, and a 12-8-0 record within their conference.
Daniel Ciampini, W, Union College: If he wins the hardware, Ciampini is going to have to make his way to Boston from Worcester, where he just recently signed an AHL contract with the Worcester Sharks. Ciampini finished his final college campaign tied for fourth in the NCAA in scoring with 26 goals and 50 points. His nine power play goals were the second best total in the league, behind only St. Cloud State’s Jonny Brodzinski.
Matt Garbowsky, C, R.I.T.: Garbowsky gets the Hobey nod as the top faceoff man in all of NCAA Div. I hockey and as one of the top scorers in the league. His 26 goals and 50 points were tied for fourth and the highest total of any Atlantic Hockey player. His scoring prowess helped pace R.I.T. to a 17-14-5 overall record and the third seed in Atlantic Hockey with a 14-9-5 record inside the conference.
Tanner Kero, C, Michigan Tech University: Kero’s 45 points, which came on the strength of 19 goals, 26 assists and 12 multi-point outings, were the highest of any player in the WCHA. They also helped Michigan Tech lock up second spot in the conference with an overall record of 28-8-2 and an in-conference record of 21-5-2. Only Minnesota State, which went 21-4-3, finished ahead of Kero’s Michigan Tech.
Joey LaLeggia, D, University of Denver: LaLeggia will have a chance to add to an already loaded trophy case if he picks up the Hobey, too. LaLeggia won the NCAA and WCHA Rookie of the Year in 2011-12, was the NCHC’s Offensive Defenseman of the Year and Defenseman of the Year last season and has a number of all-star team awards. His 13 goals and 38 points put him third among defensemen in scoring. The Edmonton Oilers selected LaLeggia in the fifth round, 123rd overall in 2012.
Zane McIntyre, G, University of North Dakota: No goaltender in the NCAA has more wins than McIntyre’s 27, and his 1.97 goals-against average (9th) and .932 save percentage (6th) are both top 10 marks in Div. I hockey. The Boston Bruins took McIntyre – then named Zane Gothberg, he changed his name to honor his mother and late grandmother – in the sixth round, 165th overall of the 2010 draft.
Mike Reilly, D, University of Minnesota: No defenseman in NCAA hockey has more points than Reilly, whose six goals and 42 points also lead the Golden Gophers in scoring. Chosen as the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year last season, Reilly has a strong enough resume to pick up the hardware this season. Drafted in the fourth round, 98th overall by Columbus in 2011, Reilly continues to grow offensively.
Jimmy Vesey, LW, Harvard: Nashville drafted Vesey in the third round, 66th overall, in 2012, and he came into his own this season. His previous career-high was 13 goals and 22 points, which he set last season, but he destroyed that total in 2014-15, posting 27 goals and 53 points in 34 games to finish third in Div. I scoring. Vesey topped the ECAC in scoring and has Harvard in the semi-final of the ECAC tournament.
Cody Wydo, LW, Robert Morris University: Wydo’s 19 goals and 41 points aren’t the best season he’s ever had – that came last year when he notched 31 goals and 54 points – but he did register two hat tricks as well as tying for 19th in NCAA scoring. Robert Morris also tops the Atlantic Hockey conference with an overall record of 24-7-5 and a conference record of 19-5-4.
In order to narrow down the field, a 27-member selection committee, along with the fans, will vote for the Hobey Hat Trick finalists, which will be announced on April 2. The eventual Hobey Baker Award winner will come from one of the three Hobey Hat Trick selections, and the winner will be announced on April 10 in Boston, the site of the 2015 Frozen Four.