Friday, April 11, 2014

Gaudreau-bey Baker

Was there ever really any doubt?

After months of speculation/anticipation, Johnny Gaudreau became the third Boston College Eagle ever to win the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the top player in NCAA Division I hockey when his selection was announced today in Philadelphia. The junior forward from Carneys Point, N.J. joins David Emma (1991) and Mike Mottau (2000) in the pantheon of BC Hobey Baker Award winners.

Gaudreau, 20, who had a goal and two assists in Thursday’s 5-4 NCAA Frozen Four semifinal loss to Union College at the Wells Fargo Center, finished the season with a nation-leading 36 goals and 44 assists for 80 points in 40 games. The other Hobey Hat Trick finalists this year were senior forwards Greg Carey of St. Lawrence and Nic Dowd of St. Cloud State. Gaudreau was also a Hobey Hat Trick finalist a year ago, when the award when to St. Cloud State's Drew Leblanc.

Through three seasons with BC, the 5-foot-7, 150-pound Gaudreau compiled 78-98—176 points in 119 contests. He collected 21 power-play goals and 18 game-winners, and also scored a spectacular goal as a freshman two years ago to ice the Eagles’ 4-1 win over Ferris State in the 2012 NCAA championship game in Tampa, Fla.

Gaudreau won a host of other accolades this season, including the Walter Brown Award as the top American-born player in college hockey, and was also recently named a First Team All-America selection. He helped BC to three Beanpot Tournament championships, two Hockey East Association regular season championships, and a Hockey East tournament title to go along with a national title. A two-time Hockey East Player of the year, he also tied a league record this season when he fashioned a 31-game point streak.

Gaudreau became the first Eagle since Emma (81 points) in 1990-91 to record at least 80 points in a single season, and the third 80-point scorer in BC annals along with Craig Janney (83 points in 1986-87). “Johnny Hockey” also needed just 54 points next season to top Emma’s 239 career points and become BC’s all-time leading scorer.

Unfortunately, there won't be a next season for him in Chestnut Hill, Mass. reported that besides winning the Hobey Baker Award today, Gaudreau also signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL’s Calgary Flames, who drafted him in the fourth round in 2011 after he had helped Dubuque (USHL) to a Clark Cup crown.

According to the Calgary Flames web site, Gaudreau's two-way contract  will commence immediately with an annual NHL base salary of $832,500, a signing bonus of $92,500 each year, and an average annual value of $1.85 million including performance bonuses .

He will join BC linemate Bill Arnold, a senior forward who also played his last career college game against Union, and who just signed with Calgary. The pair will make their NHL debuts this Sunday in Vancouver as the Flames close out their 2013-14 campaign, with Gaudreau wearing No. 53 and Arnold No. 46.

As a fan, I'm disappointed to see Gaudreau pass up his senior year at BC, as he is a tremendously talented player. As an alumnus and a New Jersey native, I can say unequivocally that he did both the alma mater and the Garden state proud. 

So long, Gaudreau-bey Bakerand thanks.

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