The Hobey Baker committee released their list of the ten finalists for the award today.
Here are the finalists:
Nate Gerbe, Boston College
Ryan Jones, Miami
Lee Jubinville, Princeton
Simon Lambert, RIT
Jean-Philippe Lamoureux, North Dakota
Ryan Lasch, St. Cloud
Jeff Lerg, Michigan State
T.J. Oshie, North Dakota
Kevin Porter, Michigan
Kevin Regan, New Hampshire
I'm not sure what to say, other than that they must have had a really tough time coming up with ten names for this.
I understand that Jeff Lerg has name recognition, and does tremendously well in the character aspects of the awards. But he's only 11th in the country in save percentage and 17th in goals against average. There were only 66 goalies that played at least one-third of their team's minutes this year. That puts Lerg in about the 74th percentile among goalies in terms of GAA. Somebody who isn't in top quarter of goalies in a major statistic probably shouldn't be listed as one of the ten best players in the country. I know character plays a huge part of the award, but I don't care if Richard Bachman steals teddy bears from sick children, he should be in the top ten over Lerg.
T.J. Oshie is a great player, but did he really have a Hobey-caliber year? He's tied for 25th in the country with 39 points in 37 games. It's a nice season, but there are quite a few guys ahead of him on the list that had just as good, if not better, seasons. Plus, he's got the same problem as Nate Gerbe in that he spent a game in the stands for some poor behavior, and the award criteria is pretty explicit about candidates showing strength of character on and off the ice.
I'm sure a lot of people will complain about Lee Jubinville and Simon Lambert making the list as token conference representatives. I don't have much of a problem with Lambert. He's a senior that had great statistics. There's a pretty strong argument for him. Jubinville is a little tougher. He's even farther down the scoring list than Oshie, though he did help lead his team to a pretty nice year. Ultimately, I can live with each conference getting some representation. It's similar to the NCAA tournament auto-bids. There may be slightly candidates out there, but they're probably not taking a spot away from anyone who has a real chance at winning the award.