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CBSSports.com Hobey Baker Award watch: Week 8

By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer

hOBEYEvery week this season, Eye on Hockey will be tracking the best players in college hockey as they compete for the ultimate individual prize, the Hobey Baker Memorial Award.

The Hobey Baker Watch is a collaboration between Eye on Hockey blogger Chris Peters and CBS Sports Network Hockey Analyst Dave Starman.

As the weeks go by it seems the top tier of players in college hockey becomes a little more crowded. So many players have made excellent cases in the early goings of the season to be considered for college hockey's ultimate individual prize. These things always tend to work themselves out over the course of the long season, but with the way 2012-13 has gone so far, it could be a wild race for the Hobey.

Things are beginning to shift a bit on the Hobey Watch, but Johnny Gaudreau remains in the top spot for the second straight week after continual dominant performances, made all the more impressive by his true sophomore standing. St. Lawrence's Kyle Flanagan has remained at the top of the scoring leaderbord, but has been matched point-for-point by Bentley's Brett Gensler, who slid up to No. 2 this week.

North Dakota's Danny Kristo, who was on our “Others to Watch” list in the Week 1 Hobey list makes his debut in the top four, supplanting Denver's Nick Shore, who should remain strongly in the hunt. Also jumping into the race in our “Others to Watch” this week is New Hampshire's Kevin Goumas, who had a seven-point weekend to jump to third in the national scoring race and has the Wildcats looking more and more like a serious contender.

1. Johnny Gaudreau -- Boston College
Position: Forward
Class: Sophomore
Ht: 5-7 Wt: 150
Season Stats: 11 GP, 9g-10a—19pts
Comment: Five points against a solid Dartmouth squad last week made Gaudreau look even more worthy of the nicknames “Gaudreaubey Baker” and “Johnny Hockey.” After the offensive outburst, Gaudreau sits tied for fourth in the country with 19 points and continues to key the nation's best team. This weekend, Gaudreau will have a national audience to show off his talents with a pair of TV games against archrival Boston University. He's also expected to be named to USA Hockey's preliminary roster for the World Junior Championship next Tuesday. Should be a good week for the BC sophomore.
2. Brett Gensler -- Bentley
Position: Forward
Class: Junior
Ht: 5-10 Wt: 160
Season Stats: 11 GP, 8g-13a—21pts
Comment: At this point in the season, Gensler is doing exactly what he has to. He's kept up a nearly two-points-per-game pace in the early goings and has sufficiently proven that his 50-point campaign as a sophomore was no aberration. He's well ahead of his pace from a season ago and has Bentley over the .500 mark. Gensler might have to have a historic season in terms of production in order to be in the Hobey Hat Trick, but he's on pace for one of the higher outputs of the last decade. It seems almost impossible for him to keep up this torrid pace, but he'll have to.
3. Kyle Flanagan -- St. Lawrence
Position: Forward
Class: Senior
Ht: 5-9 Wt: 179
Season Stats: 12 GP, 9g-12a—21pts
Comment: It was an up and down weekend last week for Flanagan, but his two points in a big nonconference win over Northeastern helped him keep pace with Gensler in the national scoring race. The next night, however, Flanagan and the rest of his St. Lawrence teammates were held off the scoresheet against Boston University. After their hot start, the Saints have just one win in their last six games and team record will come into play in Flanagan's candidacy. That said, like Gensler, he is on pace for one of the better statistical seasons of the last decade which could keep his chances strong.
4. Danny Kristo -- North Dakota
Position: Forward
Class: Senior
Ht: 5-11 Wt: 185
Season Stats: 10 GP, 5g-9a—14pts
Comment: Kristo makes his debut on the top four of the Hobey Watch this week and with good reason. The senior right winger, a prospect of the Montreal Canadiens, has been the best player on one of the nation's best lines. Skating with Corban Knight and Mark MacMillan, Kristo has been an offensive catalyst for North Dakota, scoring huge goals and making dazzling play after dazzling play. An early-season suspension might come into consideration when the voters go to make a decision, but unquestionably, Kristo has been one of the most exciting players on the ice this year in college hockey.

Others to watch:

Nick Shore -- F -- Jr. -- Denver

Greg Carey -- F -- Jr. – St. Lawrence

Nic Dowd -- F -- Jr. -- St. Cloud State

Kevin Goumas -- F -- Jr. -- UNH

Andres Lee -- F -- Jr. -- Notre Dame

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