NCAA DI Men's Hockey

2023 NHL Draft Prospect Adam Fantilli Wins Hobey Baker Award

2023 NHL Draft Prospect Adam Fantilli Wins Hobey Baker Award

Fantilli is just the third freshman to win the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, joining Paul Kariya and Jack Eichel.

Apr 8, 2023 by Chris Peters
2023 NHL Draft Profile: Adam Fantilli

Adam Fantilli, who led the NCAA in scoring as a freshman this season at the University of Michigan, took home the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the top player in men's college hockey. The 2023 NHL Draft-eligible prospect beat out University of Minnesota teammates Logan Cooley and Matthew Knies for the top individual honor in men's college hockey.

Only two previous freshmen have won the Hobey Baker -- Paul Kariya in 1993 and Jack Eichel in 2016. Both of those individuals became top-five picks in the NHL Draft months after winning the award and Fantilli is expected to be among the first picks of the 2023 NHL Draft. 

Fantilli led the NCAA with 65 points and was tied for the national goal-scoring lead with 30. His 30th goal came in a losing effort in the national semifinal Thursday night when Fantilli's Michigan Wolverines were bested by Quinnipiac, 5-2. Despite the disappointing end result for the team this season, Fantilli's leading a team to the Men's Frozen Four as a true freshman certainly played a significant role in winning the Hobey Baker.

Even if Michigan hadn't made it to the final weekend in college hockey, Fantilli's season will be remembered as one of the best ever by an NCAA freshman. His 1.81 points-per-game was the highest rate for a U19 player in the NCAA since Kariya's 100-point season as a freshman in 1992-93, just edging out Eichel who had a 1.77 points-per-game average. Additionally, Fantilli became one of just 12 players in the history of men's college hockey to record 30 goals in a single season as a U19 player. The last to do it was 20 years ago when Thomas Vanek scored 31 for Minnesota.

The Ontario native is just the third Michigan player to win the Hobey Baker, joining Brendan Morrison and Kevin Porter who won top honors in 1997 and 2008, respectively.

On top of winning the Hobey Baker, Fantilli also was named the Tim Taylor Rookie of the Year Award winner as the country's top freshman. He also was named a first-team All-American by the American Hockey Coaches Association. 

Next up for Fantilli is the NHL Draft. What his next steps are remain unclear after such a tremendous freshman campaign. He will almost certainly have the option to turn pro right away, but one-and-done players have become less frequent in the college ranks of late. 

Owen Power, who went first overall in 2020, returned to Michigan for his sophomore season. But now that Fantilli has collected all of this new hardware, it will be interesting to see if that changes the dynamic. Unless, of course, he wants to chase the national title after being one step away from the final game this season.

Regardless of his decision, Fantilli's freshman year will go down in the history books as one of the best ever as he etches his name next to college hockey immortals as a Hobey Baker winner.