My Top 3
1. Kevin Porter
2. Ryan Jones
3. Bryan Marshall
Bryan Marshall hasn't gotten much attention, but he hasn't been held off the scoreboard since December 1st, and has 7 multi-point games over that 13 game stretch. He's a huge reason why UNO is in position to finish 5th in the CCHA despite questionable defense and goaltending.
I feel bad dropping Ryan Lasch off my top 3 this week. He got hit harder than I've ever seen a hockey player get hit and was knocked unconscious for a while on Friday night. He came back and not only played Saturday, but also scored goal when, 22 hours earlier, it looked like he'd be spending his Saturday eating his dinner through a straw and trying to re-learn the date of his birthday. That's some pretty impressive toughness on his part.
Still, his Hobey candidacy is starting to look like Ryan Duncan Redux. This is more a matter of personal opinion, but when I think of a Hobey Baker candidate, I think of a guy that is the most dangerous player on the ice; a guy that you're always keeping an eye on when they are out on the ice. I never felt that way about Ryan Duncan, and I don't really feel that way about Lasch. From the viewpoint of an opposing fan, I always felt Jonathan Toews and T.J. Oshie were much more dangerous than Duncan was. Same goes for Lasch. When watching St. Cloud, I feel like Garrett Roe and Andreas Nodl are the most serious threats. It's up for debate whether Lasch is even on St. Cloud's top forward line.
That's not to say Lasch isn't a good player, because he is, but I don't know that I'd quite put him among the best players in the country.
INCH Hobey Tracker
INCH also dropped Lasch off their list, though they cite his +/- rating, which hasn't been great over the past 15 games, though I think that illustrates one of the reasons I hate the +/-. If a guy is on the ice for 2 powerplay goals for and one even strength goal against, technically he's a -1, but his team is still +1 on the scoreboard. There's a number of games over that stretch where Lasch has at least broke even in terms of raw goals, but came out with a negative rating on the night since he does most of his scoring on the powerplay.
CSTV Hobey Watch
Jeff Lerg steals a first place from Kevin Porter. Porter showed the first signs of a flaw in his candidacy with a rough week in a big series against Michigan State. Porter may need a big, or least decent showing when Michigan takes on Miami in The Single Most Important Sporting Event in History two weeks from now in Oxford to maintain his status as the obvious choice. If not, somebody from Miami, or one of about eight goaltenders could jump up and steal the award.
Lerg getting a first place vote is interesting. He showed last weekend how Michigan State was able to steal an NCAA title last season, and why they could be one of the most dangerous teams to play in the postseason. State does a great job of locking down defensively and not giving up many quality chances, and I think there's a good chance of them upsetting some teams in the NCAA tournament again.
That said, has Jeff Lerg had the best season of any player in college hockey? I doubt it. In any year, it's incredibly difficult for a goalie to win the Hobey, and I think it might be even tougher this year with so many goalies boasting quality numbers. It's just hard to justify giving the award to a goalie that is 16th in the country in goals against and 13th in save percentage, and plays for a team that isn't in the top 5 in the country.