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Johnny Gaudreau wins Hobey Baker Award, will sign with Flames

By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer

Johnny Gaudreau had 80 points in 40 games this year to lead the country. (Getty)
Johnny Gaudreau had 80 points in 40 games this year to lead the country. (Getty)

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When it came to this year's Hobey Baker Memorial Award, there really was only one choice. It had been obvious for months who college hockey's highest individual honor should go to. Now it's official. Boston College's Johnny Gaudreau is the 2013-14 Hobey Baker Award winner.

He received the award Friday evening in Philadelphia, a relatively short drive from his hometown of Carney's Point, N.J.

Gaudreau, a 2011 fourth-round pick of the Calgary Flames, put up a staggering 80 points in 40 games for the Eagles, leading the nation in both goals (36) and assists (44) as well. He is the first player to record 80 or more points in college hockey since Colorado College's Peter Sejna posted 82 points in 2002-03. You may have heard of the guy who finished right behind Sejna that season with 79 points, Ferris State's Chris Kunitz .

Despite coming in at a listed 5-foot-7, 150 pounds, Gaudreau dominated opponents this season, failing to make the score sheet in only two games this year.

Gaudreau, whose season ended after the Eagles lost 5-4 to Union Thursday at the Frozen Four, will sign with the Flames and may even get into the lineup for Calgary's season finale against the Vancouver Canucks Sunday according to legendary college hockey writer John "Jocko" Connolly of the Boston Herald.

“Yeah, the Flames are going to have their corporate jet pick them up tonight right after (Hobey Baker Award ceremony) and fly them out to Vancouver and they're going to play on Sunday,'' BC head coach Jerry York told the Herald.

Should he play in that game, Gaudreau would be able to burn a year off his three-year entry-level contract, meaning he'd only have two years to go before hitting restricted free agency, assuming he makes the NHL club next year. The single game played this season, however, would not start his seven-year clock towards unrestricted free agency under the collective bargaining agreement.

Despite his slight build, Gaudreau's magic hands and hockey sense suggest he could play in the NHL and succeed at that level. Putting up 80 points in college hockey is just unheard of these days. With a maximum of 44 games a player can play in one season and the presence of older and stronger players, that kind of production just doesn't come along very often. It just shows how unique a talent he is.

In 119 career college games over three years, Gaudreau put up 176 points. He won the national championship with Boston College as a freshman in 2012 and helped lead the team back to the Frozen Four this year.

Here's a recent feature on Gaudreau with a look at what he can do.

Gaudreau is undoubtedly a special talent and deserving of this year's Hobey Baker Award. Where he goes from here is going to be incredibly interesting to watch.

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