Hobey Baker Award Watch -- Week 6

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.

It’s early yet, but the race for the Hobey Baker continues to heat up as the season progresses. Many players across the country have jumped out to quick starts and are putting up points at an alarming rate.

For weeks, it has been St. Lawrence’s Kyle Flanagan heads above the rest when it came to production. Now, he has more than a little company at the top of the scoring charts. The rest of this week’s Hobey Baker Award Watch fills out with mostly familiar faces, including the return of Brett Gensler, who started out the season in the No. 3 spot. Johnny Gaudreau only solidified his spot in the top two with another terrific weekend, while Drew Shore remains steadfast at No. 4.

While we haven’t had any defensemen even among the Others to Watch the last few weeks, Michigan’s Mac Bennett and Denver’s Joey Laleggia could eventually factor into the Hobey discussion, with both averaging better than a point-per-game. There could also be a strong case made for Boston College goalie Parker Milner, who was on our Watch as the preseason No. 4, while Dartmouth’s Cab Morris and New Hampshire’s Casey DeSmith are both off to notable starts between the pipes this year.

St. Lawrence’s dynamic duo of Flanagan and Greg Carey are also getting some competition from St. Cloud’s Drew LeBlanc and Nic Dowd for the nation’s best 1-2 punch. So there could be a lot more movement on the Hobey Watch over the next few weeks.

College hockey is coming into the holiday season awfully hot, which should make for an exciting winter.

Let’s get to this week’s Watch.

1. Kyle Flanagan – St. Lawrence
  Position: Forward
Class: Senior
Ht: 5-9 Wt: 179
Season Stats: 8 GP, 7g-9a—16pts
Comment: All good things must come to an end, and Flanagan’s season-long scoring streak was snapped in a 4-2 loss to Yale on Saturday. Though his streak ended, Flanagan maintained his hold on the national scoring lead. However the line behind him is getting closer and longer. Four players trail Flanagan by just one point, while five others are within two. An important home weekend in ECAC play with games against Princeton and Qunnipiac might help Flanagan get back on track. He'll need to be, as his success will be closely tied to St. Lawrence's in the standings.
2. Johnny Gaudreau – Boston College
  Position: Forward
Class: Sophomore
Ht: 5-7 Wt: 150
Season Stats: 9 GP, 7g-5a—12pts
Comment:  Another weekend gone by, and another three goals for Johnny Gaudreau to push his total to seven, which is tied for second in the country. He scored two against Notre Dame and registered one against Boston University. Both were important measuring-stick games for BC, and Gaudreau really stepped up. The diminutive left winger is contributing to the success of the nation’s best team in a significant way, and he’s doing it as a 19-year-old sophomore. If he continues his consistently productive play and BC has the success they’re expected to, Gaudreau could become an unusual underclassman favorite for college hockey’s top individual award.
3. Brett Gensler – Bentley
  Position: Forward
Class: Junior
Ht: 5-10 Wt: 160
Season Stats: 7 GP, 5g-9a—14pts
Comment:  After a few weeks off the Hobey Watch, this preseason candidate returns. Gensler is tied with Flanagan as the national leader in points-per-game after a four-point weekend in Atlantic Hockey play. Gensler is averaging a very solid two points-per-game and has only been held off the scoresheet once in his junior season. Gensler is currently ahead of his pace from last season in which he collected 50 points. In order to win the Hobey, Gensler has to put up eye-popping numbers to get the voters’ attention. Not only that, but the junior winger has to help make Bentley a contender within its conference, which is easier said than done. A big AHA weekend with games against AIC and a very tough UConn squad will test Gensler and the Falcons.
4. Nick Shore -- Denver
  Position: Forward
Class: Junior
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 190
Season Stats:8 GP, 5g-8a—13pts
Comment:  Outside of Boston College, Denver has been college hockey’s best team and Shore has been the leader. In addition to wearing an A on his jersey, Shore is also pacing the Pioneers in the major statistical categories. Eight of his 13 points have come in conference play, which in the always challenging WCHA earns him some bonus points. Coming into a season with such scoring turnover from last year, Denver has been a bit of a surprise. Shore's impactful contributions to making the Pioneers one of the nation's elite teams won't go unnoticed if he and Denver can keep this up.

Others to watch:

Greg Carey – F – Jr. – St. Lawrence

A.J. Treais – F – Sr. -- Michigan

Nic Dowd – F – Jr. – St. Cloud State

Austin Czarnik – F – So. – Miami

Drew LeBlanc – F – Jr. – St. Cloud State

CBS Sports Writer

Chris Peters has been a hockey writer for CBS Sports since 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for numerous outlets and edited the United States of Hockey blog, covering the sport at all levels. Peters also... Full Bio

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