Eichel becomes first freshman Hobey Baker finalist since Parise

26 Comments

The 10 finalists for this year’s Hobey Baker Memorial Award were announced on Thursday and, to nobody’s surprise, Boston University’s Jack Eichel was among the nominees.

Eichel, 18, is the first freshman finalist for the Hobey in 12 years — in 2003, Zach Parise received the honor while playing at North Dakota — and looks to be the odds-on favorite to win; Eichel leads the nation in scoring with 61 points in just 34 games, and his plus-42 rating leads the country as well.

Considered a lock as one of the first two picks at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Eichel could become the first freshman to win the Hobey since Paul Kariya did it for the University of Maine in 1993.

As for the rest of the field, it includes:

— Union College senior Daniel Ciampini, who sits second in the country in goals (26) and power-play goals (nine) and recently inked an AHL deal with San Jose.

— Matt Garbowsky, a senior forward at RIT who sits fourth in the country in scoring and has more faceoff wins than any player in Div. 1.

— Zach Hyman, a senior forward from Michigan that ranks fourth in the country in points-per-game (1.44). Hyman is a Florida Panthers draftee.

— Michigan Tech senior Tanner Kero, who won WCHA Player of the Year on the strength of 45 points in 38 games.

— University of Denver senior blueliner Joey LaLeggia, who captured NCHC Player of the Year honors and is a draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers.

— Zane McIntyre, a junior goalie from the University of North Dakota who this year became UND’s all-time leader in career GAA and save percentage. He led the country in wins this season, with 27.

— Mike Reilly, a junior d-man from Minnesota who sits tied for second in the nation in assists, with 36. The highly-touted Columbus draftee captured the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year and is being pursued to sign an entry-level deal with the Jackets.

— Jimmy Vesey, a junior forward from Harvard that led the country with 27 goals. Vesey is a third-round pick of Nashville and captured this year’s ECAC scoring title, with 53 points.

— Cody Wydo, a senior forward from Robert Morris who became the school’s all-time scoring leader this season.

From this list of ten, three finalists will be selected and the Hobey Baker banquet will be held on May. 28 in St. Paul, Minnesota.