TRL reporters' question: As February starts, who is the favorite to win the Hobey Baker Award?
The Rink Live beat reporters answer the question about the University of Minnesota, Minnesota Duluth, University of North Dakota, Bemidji State, Minnesota State University-Mankato and St. Cloud State.
Our question this week for The Rink Live beat reporters is: As February starts, who is the favorite to win the Hobey Baker Award?
Those reporters are Mick Hatten, Jess Myers, Christian Babcock, Shane Frederick, Brad Schlossman, and Matt Wellens. Hatten covers St. Cloud State, Myers covers the University of Minnesota, Babcock covers Bemidji State, Frederick covers Minnesota State University-Mankato, Schlossman covers the University of North Dakota and Wellens covers Minnesota Duluth.
If you have a question for the group, follow us on Twitter and use #asktherinklive.
Mick Hatten (Huskies): MSU-Mankato junior forward Nathan Smith leads the nation in points (41), is second in assists (26) and tied for seventh in plus/minus (plus-23) playing for the No. 2 team in the PairWise Rankings. The Mavericks' nonconference scheduled has included Massachusetts (No. 8), St. Cloud State (No. 5), Providence (No. 15), Michigan (No. 1), Minnesota Duluth (No. 9) and Michigan Tech (No. 7).
Christian Babcock (Beavers): Nathan Smith is probably the guy, though I wonder what leaving for the Olympics will do to his candidacy. Still, it'd hardly be fair to punish him for being good enough to make the Olympic team.
Jess Myers (Gophers): From what I have seen of Nathan Smith for MSU Mankato, I would have to make him the favorite. Dynamic scorer, well-liked teammate, Olympian, etc. And he would be the first Maverick (and first Floridian) to claim the honor.
Matt Wellens (Bulldogs): I'll include another Maverick who has constantly been dismissed over his career because he played in the WCHA and now CCHA. Minnesota State goaltender Dryden McKay should be in the conversation for the Hobey. He just picked up his 100th win. He has the NCAA men's record for career shutouts. He's again one of the top goalies in the country with a .927 save percentage and 1.33 goals against average over 29 games. And as Mick pointed out, he does it against one of the toughest nonconference schedules in the country.
Brad Schlossman (Fighting Hawks): It's going to be a challenging year for voters with so many top players missing three weeks of the stretch run to go to the Olympics. This might be a year for a goaltender, like Devon Levi of Northeastern, to win it.