For the third time in four seasons, Boston College fans will have a special reason to tune in to the Hobey Baker Award ceremony on Friday night, as one of our own will be in the final three.
In what came as a bit of a surprise, Thatcher Demko was named to the Hobey Hat Trick, joining the nation's leading scorer, freshman Kyle Connor of Michigan, and Harvard's outstanding senior captain Jimmy Vesey. Does he have a chance of winning the award?
Cody of Gifford Cats' #catpredictions fame says he will win, but realistically, he's a big underdog. Only one goalie has ever won the Hobey Baker award - Ryan Miller in 2000, when he put up video game numbers: 31-5-4, .950 SV% (!!!) and 1.32 GAA for Michigan State.
Demko has had an outstanding season, with his nation-leading 10 shutouts standing out in particular, but it's hard to see the trend of goalies not winning being reversed by a goalie who was 4th in the nation in sv% (.936) and 7th in GAA (1.85). Given that he didn't lead the nation in either category, it was a bit surprising to see him sneak in to the final 3, though his spot in the final 10 was definitely warranted.
In Kyle Connor or Jimmy Vesey, the voters have a pair of great choices who both fit recent Hobey molds. Connor has pretty clearly been the nation's most productive player offensively, putting up an Eichel-esque 71 points. Vesey was no slouch offensively at 1.39 points per game, and also has the factor of being a senior captain well-regarded for his leadership. He also put up his numbers in a much more difficult league than the Big Ten, which had goofy offensive numbers all season long. If I had a vote I'd probably vote for Connor, but Vesey would be a great choice too.
As for Demko, I think he'll probably win the Richter Award as the nation's best goalie, which only makes sense given that he got in the Hobey final three.
Realistically the award should come down to either him or Yale's Alex Lyon, with a nod to North Dakota's Cam Johnson. Lyon tied Demko with a .936 SV% and led the nation with a 1.64 GAA. Winning 27 games, getting 10 shutouts, facing more rubber than Lyon, and leading his team in to the Frozen Four should probably be enough to boost Demko past Lyon to win the award.
Other than Demko, Lyon and Johnson, the other two nominees for the Richter Award are Lowell's Kevin Boyle and St. Cloud State's Charlie Lindgren.