It’s the year of the defenseman when it comes to top players in college hockey. Through almost two months of the season, the front-runners from this region for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, given annually to college hockey’s top player, appear to all be on the defensive side of the puck.
However, as the game of hockey has evolved over the past decade, most of these defensemen are better known for their puck-moving and offensive abilities. It would have been far-fetched to suggest just a couple of decades ago that almost all the best defensemen in Hockey East would stand below 6-feet tall.
There are plenty of deserving candidates out west to win the 2019 Hobey Baker Memorial Award. Among them are Michigan sophomore defenseman Quinn Hughes, Minnesota Duluth sophomore defenseman Scott Perunovich, St. Cloud State senior defenseman Jimmy Schuldt, Minnesota State sophomore defenseman Connor Mackey, Notre Dame senior defenseman Bobby Nardella, and Bowling Green sophomore forward Brandon Kruse.
In other parts of the east, Canisius senior forward Dylan McLaughlin will probably be the one player from Atlantic Hockey to become a top-10 finalist. Princeton senior Ryan Kuffner is the most likely of the three potential candidates from the Tigers.