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NCHC Hobey Baker Candidates

North Dakota's Zane McIntyre has a good chance at being a Hobey Baker finalist
North Dakota's Zane McIntyre has a good chance at being a Hobey Baker finalist
Matt Christians

The Hobey Baker Award announced the candidates for their fan vote on Wednesday. While the fans' vote counts for a very small percentage of the vote, it is interesting to see the list of players that are under consideration for the award(though it's still possible for players from outside this pool to work their way into the discussion).

We tried this with the WCHA yesterday, and now we'll look at the candidate from the NCHC. Twelve players from the league were nominated from the fan vote. I excluded four forwards who don't rank in the top-100 nationally in scoring because time is a finite resource, leaving us with eight players to look at.

Here they are:

Jonny Brodzinski, Junior, Forward, St. Cloud State

Scoring line: 18 games 11 goals(T-11th) 6 assists 17 points(T-54th)

Why: Brodzinski is one of the most dangerous goal scorers in college hockey and is really the leader of St. Cloud State's team. When he's at his best, he can put his team on his back and take over games.

Why Not: Unlike the past two seasons when the Huskies have had Hobey Hat Trick finalists, St. Cloud State isn't anywhere near the top of the league standings. Brodzinski's numbers have been decent, but the rest of his team hasn't scored enough to keep the Huskies in the national conversation.

Chances of Making the Final 10: 4/10

Austin Czarnik, Senior, Forward, Miami

Scoring line: 20 games 1 goal 21 assists(1st) 22 points(T-10th)

Why: Czarnik is scoring a lot this year, just as he has in the previous three seasons of his career. With 146 career points, he's the highest-scoring active player in college hockey. After a down year last season, he has the RedHawks back near the top of the national standings. He's also a previous Hobey finalist

Why Not: Czarnik's point totals are good, but just one goal from a forward is a bit strange.

Chances of Making the Final 10: 8/10

Joey LaLeggia, Senior, Defenseman, Denver

Scoring line: 16 games 6 goals(T-95th) 8 assists 14 points

Why: LaLeggia is one of the best offensive defensemen in college hockey, and has become a more complete playerin his senior season. He's scored over 100 points for his career.

Why Not: While his career numbers are great, he's not having a particularly standout season.

Chances of Making the Final 10: 6/10

Ryan Massa, Senior, Goalie, Nebraska-Omaha

Stat line: 15 games, 9-3-3 2.07 GAA, .934(24th) save percentage(10th)

Why: Massa has helped carry a young Omaha team. He's flat-out stolen a few games where the Mavericks were badly outshot, and he has them in position to make the NCAA tournament.

Why Not: Massa's numbers are solid, but not outstanding. It might be tough to keep up those stellar numbers if he continues to face 35+ shots a game consistently in the second half of the year.

Chances of Making the Final 10: 5/10

Zane McIntyre, Junior, Goalie, North Dakota

Stat line: 19 games 13-4-2 1.95 GAA(17th), .929 save percentage(19th)

Why: McIntyre has been stellar, anchoring a very good North Dakota team. He carried his team to the Frozen Four last year, and is in position to do the same this year.

Why Not: Gothberg is barely in the top-20 in both statistical categories.

Chances of Making the Final 10: 8/10

Dom Toninato, Sophomore, Forward, Minnesota Duluth

Scoring line: 18 games 13 goals(T-3rd) 5 assists 18 points(T-38th)

Why: Toninato has developed into a major scoring threat in his second season. He's effective on both the power play and penalty kill and been the top player on a very good UMD team.

Why Not: With his relatively low assist total, it might be difficult for Toninato to keep his point totals up since he's scoring two-and-a-half goals for every assist.

Chances of Making Final 10: 5/10

Andy Welinski, Junior, Defenseman, Minnesota Duluth

Stat line: 18 games 6 goals(T-95th) 7 assists 13 points

Why: Welinski is a steady defensive leader for the Bulldogs, and has added some offense to his repertoire this season.

Why Not: Being a good defensive defenseman is very valuable to a team, but doesn't translate well to awards like this that favor strong statistics.

Chances of Making the Final 10: 2/10

Jay Williams, Junior, Goalie, Miami

Stat line: 15 games, 13-2-0 1.54 GAA(3rd) .929 save percentage(20th)

Why: After splitting time with Ryan McKay for his first two seasons, Williams has had the opportunity to be the full-time starter thanks to some injury issues with McKay and he has ran with it. He has the best winning percentage of any regular starter and leads the nation with four shutouts.

Why Not: With teammate Austin Czarnik looking poised to be a finalist again, it might be tough for two Miami players to crack the list.

Chances of Making the Final 10: 5/10