March 20, 2007

The finalists for the 2007 Hobey Baker Memorial Award were announced last week. As part of our continuing Hobey Tracker coverage, we present the list of this year's 10 finalists, and reasons why they will win as well as why they won't.


Drew Bagnall
St. Lawrence
Senior | Defense

Statistics: 38 GP, 6-19—25
Why he could win: As the ECAC Hockey League Player of the Year and a first-team all-league selection, he definitively had the best year of any player in the ECACHL. If voters are looking for a candidate from the league, and a defenseman to add to their ballots, Bagnall will likely get those votes.
Why he might not: He was off the radar nationally when the season began and St. Lawrence's small-school standing in the ECACHL make it harder to earn attention in other parts of the country.

David Brown
Notre Dame
Senior | Goalie

Statistics: 29-5-3, 1.58 GAA, .931 sv%
Why he could win: Brown has been the best player on the nation's best team (according to the polls, anyway) from Day One. In addition to mind-boggling numbers, he also benefits from his role in the feel-good story of the season, and the school's name recognition doesn't hurt.
Why he might not: As with nearly every goaltender who's also a Hobey candidate, detractors claim Brown's stats are the by-product of a system that limits shot totals and keeps him from being exposed. He could also be hurt by skepticism of Notre Dame's legitimacy as a top-flight team.

John Curry
Boston University
Senior | Goalie

Statistics: 17-9-8, 1.92 GAA, .931 sv%
Why he could win: BU was 20-9-9 with Curry. Without him, the Terriers might''ve been 9-20-9. Maybe it wouldn't have been that bad, but the number of times Curry saved the bacon of goal-starved BU were many.
Why he might not: Curry wasn't quite as sharp following BU's Beanpot title game win. In fact, other Hockey East goalies — BC's Cory Schneider and UMass's Jon Quick, for example — were better down the stretch.

Nathan Davis
Junior | Forward

Statistics: 40 GP, 20-29—49
Why he could win: There may not be a better two-way player in the nation. Davis is a gifted scorer and playmaker, but he's also among the top penalty-killers in the country and always a threat to score shorthanded. His speed and ability to anticipate the actions of his foes are a lethal combination.
Why he might not: After a sizzling start to the season (14 goals, 21 assists in the RedHawks' first 19 games), Davis faded badly in the second half of the year, with just 14 points in his last 21 games.

Ryan Duncan
North Dakota
Soph. | Forward

Statistics: 40 GP, 30-23—53
Why he could win: The WCHA Player of the Year, the undrafted Duncan led a Fighting Sioux team loaded with first-round NHL draft choices in points, and was basically NoDak's lone scoring threat during most of the first half of the year.
Why he might not: While Duncan has been consistent throughout the season, critics note North Dakota didn't get hot until Jonathan Toews and T.J. Oshie rounded into firm just after the midway point of the season.

Eric Ehn
Air Force
Junior | Forward

Statistics: 39 GP, 24-40—64
Why he could win: The point total speaks for itself. He was at or near the top of the national scoring chart for the entire season. Getting off to a great start put him in the national spotlight right away and he kept up his stellar performances for the whole year.
Why he might not: No player from Atlantic Hockey has ever made the top three in the Hobey voting, let alone won the award. This year might be the strongest chance to see that change as Ehn stands out among the nation's forwards.

Bobby Goepfert
St. Cloud State
Senior | Goalie

Statistics: 17-9-7, 2.24 GAA, .927 sv%
Why he could win: He's been the most important player for a St. Cloud State team that's played consistently well all season. In a big picture sense, he's the one person outside of coach Bob Motzko most responsible for the rejuvenation of the Huskies' program.
Why he might not: His numbers are a shade below those posted by Brown and Curry. In fact, his goals against average and save percentage is about the same as that of Wisconsin's Brian Elliott, whose Badgers finished seventh in the WCHA this season.

2. T.J. Hensick
Senior | Forward

Statistics: 40 GP, 21-45—66
Why he could win: Ginormous scoring totals. With at least one game remaining, he could reach the 70-point plateau. And though the Hobey doesn't recognize career achievements (well, not usually), Hensick's 200+ career points are also impressive.
Why he might not: Heck, with guys like Kevin Porter, Andrew Cogliano, and Jack Johnson in the same lineup, he may not be the best player in his own locker room, let alone the nation. How much does he benefit from playing with such a talented supporting cast?

David Jones
Junior | Forward

Statistics: 33 GP, 18-26—44
Why he could win: He was the most prolific scorer among all ECAC Hockey League players and the leader of a Dartmouth team that made a strong run to close the regular season.
Why he might not: He is just one of two finalists that isn't playing in the NCAA Tournament and Dartmouth's most recent semifinaly loss in the league championship weekend prevented him from gaining some exposure in a nationally televised game.

Scott Parse
Senior | Forward

Statistics: 40 GP, 24-28—52
Why he could win: Parse showed consistent excellence throughout his career and backed up a standout junior campaign with another 50-point campaign in his senior year.
Why he might not: Like Dartmouth's Jones, his team isn't playing in the NCAA Tournament and he missed his team's CCHA playoff series at Michigan State due to injury.