(Photo: Tyler Paley/WCSN)
When Coyotes broadcaster Matt McConnell said at August’s Gila River Arena announcement that it would only be a “matter of time” before the Sun Devils would be celebrating a Hobey Baker Award winner, year one might not have been what he had in mind.
ASU freshman forward Jordan Masters was one of 66 players nominated for the 2016 Hobey Baker Memorial Award – an honor given to the best player in collegiate hockey – on Wednesday.
“It’s a big honor,” Masters said. “Being a first year team and all that, I think it all goes back to being around good guys, good line mates and just everyone working hard and getting me to where I am.”
Last year, former Boston University center and current Buffalo Sabre Jack Eichel won the award.
Eichel was the second overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.
According to the award’s website, recipients “are chosen not for raw skill or stats or character alone, though those are important. They are selected for everything they do.”
Masters has been the lone bright spot on a struggling Arizona State team, scoring eight goals this season to go with 11 assists. His point total sits at 19.
He is currently ranked 78th nationally for total points.
“He’s had a great year,” head coach Greg Powers said. “He’s not surrounded by really a lot of elite offensive talent, so for him to do what he’s done and the numbers he’s put up, on this team against our schedule is really impressive.”
This season has been as rough as they come for the Sun Devils, in their first season, they’ve played two top five teams in consecutive weeks, a total of four top-20 teams, as well as an elite Canadian team.
With that being said, given the team he’s played with and the teams he’s had to play against, Masters’ numbers look all the more impressive.
However, given the other 65 nominees, including New Hampshire’s Andrew Poturalski, Michigan’s Kyle Connor and Robert Morris’ Zac Lynch, it still might take some time before McConnell’s prediction comes to fruition.
“He certainly isn’t going to be a finalist or win it,” Powers said. “But I think it’s a great accomplishment for a freshman on our team.”
While the record hasn’t been pretty – the team is 5-18-0 going into this weekend’s series with ACHA Ohio – the program has a man it can be built around, whether he’s a Hobey Baker award winner or not.
The winner of the award will be announced in April and voting is currently live.