Could this be the year UConn becomes home to a Hobey Baker winner? Sophomore forwards Tage Thompson and Maxim Letunov along with freshman goaltender Adam Huska were named as candidates for the 2017 Hobey Baker Award, given each year to the best NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey player.
Thompson currently leads the Huskies in scoring with 25 points and 17 goals. The Orange, Conn. native is ranked second among Hockey East goal scorers and is tied for fourth place in this category across all NCAA Division I players. He was drafted 26th overall in the first round of the 2016 NHL Draft by the Saint Louis Blues, making him the highest drafted player in program history. Should Thompson win the award, he will join Chris Drury as the only two players from The Nutmeg State to win college hockey’s top individual honor. Drury won the award in 1998 while playing for Boston University.
Letunov only trails Thompson with 24 points of his own. He has racked up this number behind a team-leading 18 assists, placing him tied for ninth in in the league for helpers. Letunov leads the team with nine multi-point games and has been on fire as of late, scoring 13 points in UConn’s last 11 matchups. His 40 points on 16 goals and 24 assists last season set UConn Division I rookie records for all three of these stats. He was drafted in the second round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft by the Saint Louis Blues. Since being drafted, his rights have been traded twice and Letunov is now part of the San Jose Sharks’ organization.
In goal for most of the Huskies’ matchups this season has been freshman netminder, Adam Huska. Starting 15 of UConn’s games, Huska has a 2.74 goals against average and a .921 save percentage, placing him fourth among Hockey East goalies in the latter category. Prior to UConn, Huska played in the USHL with the Green Bay Gamblers. He was named the USHL Goaltender of the Year last year, leading the league in both goals against average and in save percentage with 1.82 and .931 numbers, respectively. Huska has represented Slovakia in the World Junior Championships for the past three years and was drafted in the seventh round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers.
Fans will have the opportunity to help players through multiple selection rounds as the field narrows down to just three candidates. Selections can be made online through the voting section of HobeyBaker.com. The winner will be announced on April 7 during the Frozen Four in Chicago, Ill.