Adam Fox of Harvard University
John Mersits/CSM/REX
NHL Prospects

COHEN: Who should win the Hobey Baker Award?

38 of these have been handed out and the 39th is getting closer. Most will think it’s a slam dunk that Cale Makar should win the award but many who think it’s a done deal should read what the award is about and then take a closer look. I’ve decided to do just that. 
“Outstanding skills in all phases of the game, strength of character on and off the ice, sportsmanship and scholastic achievements.”
It’s not an MVP award. It’s easy to lose sight of that but it’s more complicated than that. This is why you never know how the voting will go and right now it’s closer than you think. There are a lot of qualifications nominees get judged by. It’s a smart way to really show off how a player can balance sports and studies. It’s a hard thing to juggle. You have to manage your time well. Players want to win but they want to succeed in life as well. To me, that’s the essence of the award.
Cale Makar
This Sports Management major is the best player of the three. He’s the best skater, the best power play quarterback and the guy who makes UMass roll. He’s gotten the program on the map, and that was one of his goals, and his team has now roiled right into the Frozen Four, aptly held in Buffalo, New York, where the weather is unpredictable at best.
The Avalanche prospect defenseman is a +32 on the season that ranks third in the nation. This junior not the only of the three with a gold medal, but that doesn’t count in the voting. I was testing you! His 48 points in 33 games is tremendous and that does count. He won the Hockey East Defensive Player of the week multiple times and he won Hockey East Player of the Week multiple times as well. He’s an assistant captain who is active in UMass community events. That counts in his favor as well.

Is a finance major and he has a posted GPA of 3.66. That’s pretty impressive. He’s a four-time NCHC Scholar-Athlete Award winner. He’s a Senior Class award top 10 finalist. He works with Special Olympics and coaches Dynomites inner-city hockey team. This does weigh in his favor for sure.
The senior defenseman had 10 goals and 35 points in 39 games. He was a +24 on the season. He’s a high character with a pro wrist shot. He plays on the power play and the penalty kill. He’s played in 155 consecutive games! The Vegas Golden Knights were smart to snap him up. He’s the St. Cloud State team captain. He was voted NCHC Defensive Player of the Week once this season. He was eventually voted the NCHC Player of the Year, Defenseman of the Year and All NCHC First Team. The race just got closer.
This junior defenseman will be playing in the NHL down the road. We don’t know for what team. His 48 points in 33 games is as impressive as Makar. He is a Psychology major who actively works with initiatives assisting children with cancer. Those are impressive credentials. 
This year he was voted on the ECAC First All-Star Team. He leads all NCAA defenseman with a 1.45 points per game average. He quarterbacked the Harvard power play, one that was ranked second in the nation with a 29.4% proficiency rate. He had a five-point game this season. That statistic could work for or against him with the voters.
All three finalists are defenseman. I’m not going to go through the strength of schedule or who plays against the better teams with better players. They all played the teams that were on the schedule and all three were exceptional and that’s why they all have an excellent chance to win the award. If you really don’t believe that, then you’ll hate what’s coming.
We have reached the moment where I will stick my neck out and predict the winner.
I think Jimmy Schuldt checks off all the boxes of the criteria.
He’s a great player. He carries himself like a winner. He’s a captain. All of these players are leaders, but he may slightly edge out the others in that category. Points aren’t everything. The other two may have a higher GPA but 3.66 is ridiculously high for a student-athlete. And that’s the real point of the award. It’s for the best student-athlete, not the best player, or the one who’s had the best career or who will be better at the next level. It’s that one moment in time where he was better than the rest. 
One player doesn’t make a hockey team, but one player can lead a hockey team.
Schuldt definitely did that.
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