The Hobey Baker Memorial Award will be handed out next month at the 2014 NCAA Frozen Four in Philadelphia. Barring a miraculous surge by someone else, my opinion (and that of many others) is that it's Johnny Gaudreau's to lose.
The junior forward from Boston College and Carney's Point, N.J., who was a Hobey Hat Trick finalist a year ago when the award went to St. Cloud State's Drew LeBlanc, has been on a tear since Halloween, and has been a major reason why the Eagles claimed the Hockey East regular-season crown and have been ranked at or near the top of the NCAA Division I roll all season long.
For starters, Gaudreau leads the nation with 30 goals and 34 assists for 64 points in 34 games. He's also the nation's top goal-scorer, is second in assists, and tied for sixth nationally with nine power-play goals. He's also notched six game-winning goals, including the deciding marker against Notre Dame in the Frozen Fenway contest in January, and has just 14 penalty minutes.
Perhaps most impressive of all is that Gaudreau has been held scoreless only once this entire campaign—and that was back in October at Minnesota. Since then he's been on a 29-game tear, collecting 27-29—56 points as BC has gone 25-5-4 overall to date. He's currently on a seven-game goal-scoring streak, and has recorded 18 multiple-point outings on the year, including a five-assist night against Maine on Jan. 18.
Two years after dazzling spectators with a highlight-reel end-to-end rush against Ferris State to seal BC's fourth NCAA title, Gaudreau, a 2011 fourth-round draft choice of the NHL's Calgary Flames, has the Eagles poised for another shot at winning college hockey's biggest prize. A second NCAA ring would add to his collection that also includes a 2011 Clark Cup championship with Dubuque (USHL), a gold medal with the 2013 U.S. National Junior Team, and three Beanpots with the Eagles.
And to think he was supposed to wind up at Northeastern, instead.
Just call him Gaudreau-bey Baker already.