Jackson Blake of Eden Prairie is one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to college hockey’s top player. PHOTO COURTESY OF NORTH DAKOTA ATHLETICS

Three finalists to be named April 4, winner announced in St. Paul during Frozen Four on April 12

St. Paul, Minn. — The Hobey Baker Memorial Award Foundation is pleased to announce the Top Ten candidates for the 2024 award honoring college hockey’s top player. Alphabetically, they are: Jackson Blake, University of North Dakota; Macklin Celebrini, Boston University; Jack  Devine, University of Denver; Cutter Gauthier, Boston College; Collin Graf, Quinnipiac University; Lane Hutson, Boston University; Kyle McClellan, University of Wisconsin; Liam McLinskey, College of the Holy Cross; Sam Morton, Minnesota State University; and Will Smith, Boston College.

The ten finalists were selected by voting from all 64 Division I college hockey head coaches and online fan balloting. This year’s Hobey Baker winner will be chosen from this group by  the 30-member Selection Committee as well as an additional round of fan balloting running from March 20–March 31 on the Hobey Baker website hobeybaker.com. Criteria for the award are: displaying outstanding skills in all phases of the game, strength of character on and off the ice, sportsmanship, and scholastic achievements.

The Hobey Hat Trick (three finalists) will be announced on April 4th, 2024, and the Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced on Friday April 12, 2024 during the Frozen Four weekend in St Paul MN. The announcement will be televised live on the NHL Network and streamed on the Hobey Baker website at 6:00 p.m. ET.

Following, in alphabetical order, is a look at each finalist.

Jackson Blake – University of North Dakota – Sophomore, Forward, Eden Prairie, Minnesota

A standout sophomore at UND, Jackson Blake has matched a rare feat by scoring over 40 points in his first two seasons, a level of performance not seen since Brock Boeser’s 60 points in the 2015-16 season. His scoring consistency included eight games with at least three points, contributing to a streak where he scored in 17 of the last 18 regular-season games. Poised to join Zach Parise as the second sophomore in the last 30 years to reach 100 career points at UND, he also shattered the NCHC single-season scoring record with 37 points in conference play. Remarkably, he led the team in points as a freshman, the first time this had been achieved at UND since 1980.

  • Drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 4th round (109 overall) of the 2021 NHL Draft

  • Named to NCHC First Team and is a Finalist for NCHC Player of the Year and Forward of the Year

  • Ranks second in the NCAA in points (57)

Macklin Celebrini — Boston University – Freshman, Forward, Vancouver, British Columbia

At just 17, Macklin Celebrini stands out as one of the country’s top centers, showcasing a comprehensive, 200-foot game that balances elite playmaking with diligent defensive responsibility. His blend of superior talent, hockey sense, competitive drive, and work ethic underscores his commitment to improvement, both on the ice and off it.

  • Ranks second in NCAA scoring for goals (30) and ranks third in points (55)

  • A top prospect eligible for the 2024 NHL Entry Draft ranked #1 on NHL Central Scouting’s midterm rankings of top North American skaters.

  • Named Hockey East Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year, and also named to Hockey East First Team, All Rookie Team, is the Hockey East Scoring Champion

Jack Devine – University of Denver – Junior, Forward, Glencoe, Illinois

Jack Devine dominates the team’s statistics, leading in goals (27), points (54), and shots (123) marking him as a key offensive player for University of Denver. He made history on January 19, 2024 as the quickest Pioneer to hit the 20-goal mark, in just 23 games, en route to becoming the most prolific scorer since 2005-06. His contributions include eight multi-goal games and a standout start to the season, earning him NCHC Forward of the Week, alongside reaching personal and career milestones such as his 100th career point in a landmark game against Colorado College.

  • Ranks third in NCAA scoring for goals (27), and is fourth in points (54)

  • Selected by the Florida Panthers in the seventh round (221 overall) in the 2022 NHL Draft

  • Named to NCHC First Team, and is a finalist for NCHC Player of the Year and Forward of the Year

Cutter Gauthier – Boston College – Sophomore, Forward, Scottsdale, Arizona

Cutter Gauthier is at the forefront nationally, boasting 32 goals and ranking fifth with 52 points, showcasing his knack for clutch moments with nine game-winners and proficiency on the power play with 10 goals. Throughout the season, he’s been a consistent force, hitting the score sheet in 30 out of 35 games and achieving multiple points in 14 games.

       •.  Won gold with Team USA at the 2024 World Juniors Championship

  • Was selected in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft (fifth overall) by the Philadelphia Flyers, with his rights traded to the Anaheim Ducks in 2024

  • Named to Hockey East First Team and was the runner-up for Player of the Year

  • Is the NCAA goal-scoring leader

 

Collin Graf – Quinnipiac University – Junior, Forward, Lincoln, Massachusetts

Collin Graf played in 31 games, amassing 22 goals, 26 assists, for 48 points, with eight of those goals coming on power plays and three being game-winners. He is currently fifth nationally in goals and is sixth in points per game.  His exceptional play earned him four ECAC Player of the Week honors and the ECAC Forward of the Month for December, and he led his team in multi-point, multi-assist, and multi-goal games.

  • Named to ECAC First Team, and is a finalist for ECAC Player of the Year

  • Ranks 8th among all NCAA skaters in goals and is sixth in total points (48)

  • Serves as an assistant captain and is involved in the program’s leadership groups as well as within the university

Lane Hutson – Boston University – Sophomore, Defenseman, Chicago, Illinois

Lane Hutson impresses as a dynamic defenseman with exceptional skating and puck-handling skills that make him stand out every time he hits the ice. His hockey IQ and vision are unparalleled, complementing a defensive game that’s on a constant upward trajectory, underscored by leading the Terriers in ice time. This season Hutson has averaged 1.33 points per game, which ranks 13th nationally among all NCAA skaters, and is tied for first in points by a defenseman with 44.  Hutson also ranks third in goals by a defenseman (12) and tied for fourth in game winning goals by a defenseman (3).

  • Named to Hockey East First Team

  • Won gold with Team USA at the 2024 World Juniors Championships, serving as the team alternate captain.

  • Selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the second round (62 overall) at the 2022 NHL Draft

Kyle McClellan – University of Wisconsin – Senior, Goaltender, Manchester, Missouri

Already named the Big Ten Goaltender of the Year, and a finalist for Big Ten Player of the Year, Kyle McClellan ranks among the nation’s top goaltenders.  He leads the nation in save percentage (.931) and shutouts (7).  This season he has 24 victories and a 1.92 goals-against average which is second in the nation.  His seven shutouts place him second on UW’s all-time single-season list. Recognized for his excellence, he’s a semifinalist for the Mike Richter Award  also earning accolades such as the Hockey Commissioners Association’s National Goaltender of the Month for December.

  • Named to Big Ten First Team, and was named Big Ten Goalie of the Year

  • Allowed two goals or fewer in 25 of the 36 games played

  • Seven shutouts are one shy of the University of Wisconsin record held by longtime NHL goaltender and 2006 Hobey Baker Finalist Brian Elliott

Liam McLinskey – College of the Holy Cross – Junior, Forward, Pearl River, New York

Liam McLinskey transferred to Holy Cross after a brief stint at Quinnipiac. He made an immediate impact. In 2022-23, he played all 40 games, scoring 25 points and setting a playoff record with nine goals in six games. This season, he elevated his game even further, leading the Crusaders with 47 points and earning numerous accolades, including Atlantic Hockey Player of the Year. Known for his dynamic skating and playmaking ability, McLinskey contributes both offensively and defensively while also actively engaging in community service initiatives, such as supporting and mentoring his Team Impact teammate.

  • Named to AHA First Team, and was also named AHA Player of the Year and AHA Scoring Champion

  • His 44 points leads the Crusaders, Atlantic Hockey, and is the 12th-highest mark in the nation

  • First Player of the Year since 2006, first First Team selection since 2018, and helped the Crusaders to their first 20-win season since the 2012-2013 season

Sam Morton – Minnesota State University – Senior, Forward, Lafayette, Colorado

Sam Morton leads the CCHA in conference goals scored with 15 goals, 9 power-play goals, and the highest number of shots and face-off wins, contributing to his fourth-place ranking in overall points (34) and a 55.5% face-off win percentage. His performance across 37 games boasts 24 goals, 10 assists, and ranks him eighth nationally for power-play goals (9), with notable achievements in shot blocking, face-offs, and maintaining point streaks. Throughout his tenure with Minnesota State, Morton has accumulated 44 goals, 32 assists, and distinguished himself with 17 power-play goals and six game-winners.

  • Named 2024 CCHA Player of the Year,  Forward of the Year, and First Team All-CCHA

  • Served as team captain for the 2023-2024 season

  • Recently signed a free agent contract with the Calgary Flames

Will Smith — Boston College – Freshman, Forward, Lexington, Massachusetts

Will Smith finished the regular season atop the NCAA scoring chart with 58 points, amassing 18 goals alongside a nation-leading 40 assists, and was a consistent force scoring in 31 out of 35 games, highlighted by a dominant 18-game point streak. Smith’s season was distinguished by 20 games with multiple points and pivotal performances against high-ranking opponents, earning accolades such as Hockey East Rookie of the Week and Player of the Month.

  • Named to Hockey East First Team, Hockey East All Rookie Team, and was the runner-up for Rookie of the Year

  • Selected in the first round (4th overall) by the San Jose Sharks at the 2023 NHL Draft

  • Won a gold medal for Team USA at the 2024 World Junior Championship

  • Ranks first in the nation in assists (40) and in points (58)

Hobey Notes:

  • Candidates by conference: Hockey East – 4, NCHC – 2, AHA – 1, Big Ten – 1, CCHA -1, ECAC -1

  • By position: Forwards – 8, Defense – 1, Goalie -1

  • By class: Senior – 2, Junior – 3, Sophomore – 3, Freshmen – 2

  • By nationality: U.S. – 9 (Mass. & Ill. – 2; 1 each NY, Colo., Mo., Ariz., Minn.),

Canada – 1 (B.C.)

  • Repeat Candidates: Collin Graf (’23), Lane Hutson (’23)

  • Quinnipiac has a finalist for the third straight year and BU for the second straight

  • Five of the ten finalists have been NHL draft picks with two selected in the first round (Gauthier and Smith)

  • Visit hobeybaker.com or on Facebook at: facebook.com/TheHobey

The Hobey Baker website also has the top ten video and in-depth bios.  The Hobey Baker Top Ten video is available in a High Definition format at www.hobeybaker.com/media

The 2024 Hobey Baker Award winner will be honored along with this year’s Hobey Baker Legend of College Hockey, Don Lucia, at the annual banquet and golf outing to be held August 8 in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. For more information visit the website at: www.hobeybaker.com.

Upcoming Hobey Baker Media releases are as follows:

  • Hat Trick of three Finalists – Thu., April 4 at 11 a.m. CT

  • Winner – Fri., April 12 at 6:00 p.m. ET – Live TV on NHL Network; streamed at www.hobeybaker.com