10 For '08: The Hobey
We're only a few weeks removed from the 2007
national championship game, but here at Inside College Hockey
we can't resist casting our gaze toward the future. A lot
can change between now and the drop of the puck in October,
but that doesn't stop our 10 For '08 feature.
We already took an early look at the
top 10 teams headed into next season; in the near future
we'll offer our thoughts on 10 big questions headed into next
season. Now we take an early look at who will be next year's
contenders for the Hobey Baker Award.
Davis was the front-runner for the 2007
Hobey at the season’s midpoint but slumped down
the stretch, scoring just seven of his 21 goals and
15 of his 50 points in the RedHawks’ 22 post-Christmas
games. Had he had an average second half, he would’ve
likely been among the three finalists for the award.
Heading into his senior year, Davis has two factors
working in favor of his Hobey chances. One, he’ll
likely remain paired with classmate Ryan Jones, a talented
goal scorer. Two, he’s the country’s most
dangerous shorthanded scoring threat as evidenced by
his nine career SHGs.
|Clarkson's captain will produce point totals
that rank among the nation's leaders, but that doesn't
illustrate what makes him one of the nation's best players.
He plays in both special-teams situations and is one of
the best face-off men in the country and often goes head-to-head
against the opponent's top line. He dealt with all of
those responsibilities last year and still finished second
in Clarkson's scoring list by a point, despite playing
three fewer games than scoring leader (and recent pro-signee)
|The 2007 Hobey Baker Award winner led North
Dakota's fight to keep its head above water during a difficult
first half of the season, then kept producing as the Fighting
Sioux stormed to the Frozen Four for a third consecutive
year. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Duncan again
scores 30-plus goals and better than 50 points, but Oshie
and – in the unlikely event he chooses to return
for his junior season – Toews could leapfrog Duncan
in the Hobey pecking order. And after last year’s
breakout campaign, Duncan won’t be able to sneak
up on anyone any more.
|Ehn's inclusion in the 2007 Hobey Hat Trick
helps his candidacy for the honor in 2008. First, he won't
have to deal with questions regarding the worthiness of
a finalist from a fledgling conference this time around.
Second, there was considerable sentiment to honor someone
whose commitment to hockey was matched – if not
exceeded – by a commitment to serving the country.
Perhaps the only factor working against him is whether
he can duplicate the statistics he put up last season.
|It’s always tough to single out just
one Hobey candidate on a team as talented as the Gophers,
but Goligoski gets the nod because he’ll be the
only seasoned veteran on a fairly green defensive corps,
not to mention the only proven offensive threat from the
blue line. Like Miami’s Davis, he got out to a great
start (8-20—28 in Minnesota’s first 23 games)
but faded late in the year (1-10—11 over the final
21 games). With a more consistent effort, he could put
up numbers similar to Matt Carle when the Denver rearguard
won the Hobey in 2006.
|As one of four returning Hobey finalists
from 2007, Jones already has that hard-to-get tag of being
one of the nation's best players despite not playing for
a nationally prominent team. His 1.33 points-per-game
last season ranked among the top 10 in the country. If
Jones helps Dartmouth take that next step, moving off
of the bubble and into the NCAA Tournament, he'll be a
strong candidate for the Hobey Hat Trick.
|Considering that he scored 52 points in
43 games for a Frozen Four qualifier last season, it’s
hard to believe Oshie wasn’t among the 10 finalists
for the Hobey. That said, if he puts up points at the
same pace as he did over the Fighting Sioux’s last
20 games – he scored 12 goals and 22 assists during
that span – there’s no reason to think he
can’t be a leading candidate for Hobey honors next
season. As stated above, a big year from Duncan and/or
Toews (can we just put an asterisk behind his name?) could
hinder Oshie’s chances.
|T.J. Hensick led the nation in scoring
last season, but Porter is a more well-rounded player.
He can score, as evidenced by his 24 goals and 34 assists
last season – that was the third-best total in the
country – but he may also be the country’s
top defensive forward. He’ll again have a chance
to eclipse the 60-point plateau next season if he skates
on a line with rocket-propelled center Andrew Cogliano.
But there’s also a chance that Cogliano could emerge
as a Hobey hopeful himself.
|Last year's standout freshman will be in
a position to take over the scoring load for the Black
Bears, following the graduation of a strong senior class
that included Michel Leveille and Josh Soares. We'll see
how things develop, but the one thing that might hurt
Purcell's candidacy is how people view Maine's top tandem.
Is Purcell the supporting offense for star goalie Ben
Bishop? Or is Bishop a complementary backstop that allows
Purcell to do his thing?
|The likes of David Brown, John Curry, and
Bobby Goepfert made it a goalie-friendly Hobey year in
2007, but Schneider's the only netminder on our list of
prospects for 2008. He has the benefit of entering the
Hobey race as the best player on the best team, which
carries lots of weight with voters, who look at winning
teams first. His numbers will be fine, and if Boston College
maintains the No. 1 spot in Hockey East and the national
polls for most of the year, Schneider will benefit by
receiving individual accolades.