Cole Caufield, a Montreal Canadiens forward prospect who completed his second season at the University of Wisconsin, was among the three finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award announced Thursday.
Ottawa Senators forward prospect Shane Pinto of the University of North Dakota and goalie Dryden McKay of Minnesota State University are the other finalists for the award, presented annually to the top NCAA men’s ice hockey player. The winner will be announced April 9 (6 p.m. ET; NHLN).
Caufield was selected by the Canadiens with the No. 15 pick of the 2019 NHL Draft and signed a three-year, entry-level contract with Montreal on March 27. He will report to Laval of the American Hockey League.
The 20-year-old led all NCAA players in goals (30), points (52), power-play goals (11), power-play points (24) and shots on goals (165), and was named Big Ten Player of the Year. Caufield scored 88 points (49 goals, 39 assists) in 67 games in his two college seasons.
Pinto, selected by the Senators in the second round (No. 32) of the 2019 draft, was third among National Collegiate Hockey Conference players with 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists) in 28 games. The 20-year-old was named NCHC Player of the Year and was the first player in conference history to be named Forward of the Year and Defensive Forward of the Year. He led NCHC players with a 61.9 percent face-off winning percentage and 388 face-off wins, and tied for the lead with seven power-play goals.
McKay is 21-3 with a 1.39 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage in 25 games, with an NCAA-best 10 shutouts. He has 24 shutouts in his three college seasons, second in NCAA history behind Ryan Miller of Michigan State (26). The junior was named Western Collegiate Hockey Association Goalie of the Year for the second consecutive season.
The 23-year-old is undrafted and eligible to sign with any NHL team after his season ends.
Minnesota State will play St. Cloud State in the semifinals of the NCAA Frozen Four at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh on April 8. The championship game is April 10.
The three Hobey Baker Award finalists were selected from an initial list of 10 candidates nominated by the 30-member selection committee and an additional round of online fan balloting. Criteria for the award includes a display of outstanding skills in all phases of the game, strength of character on and off the ice, sportsmanship and scholastic achievements.
The 41st Hobey Baker Award ceremony also will include the announcements of the Hockey Humanitarian Award, the East and West All-American Teams and the Mike Richter Award given to the nation’s top NCAA men’s ice hockey goalie.