2024 NHL Draft

Hobey Baker Top Ten 2024: Macklin Celebrini, Cutter Gauthier Lead List

Hobey Baker Top Ten 2024: Macklin Celebrini, Cutter Gauthier Lead List

Boston University's Macklin Celebrini and Boston College's Cutter Gauthier were among the players named to the Hobey Baker Top 10 list.

Mar 20, 2024 by Chris Peters

In what has been one of the most wide-open Hobey Baker races in recent memory, the field is now down to its final 10 players. A star-studded cast, made up primarily of freshmen and sophomores – a departure from the norm – is still in the hunt for the top individual prize in men’s college hockey.

Among those still contending is projected No. 1 pick for the 2024 NHL Entry Draft, Macklin Celebrini of Boston University. Additionally, Anaheim Ducks prospect Cutter Gauthier, who was part of one of the most high-profile and controversial NHL trades of the season, is also among those still vying to join the exclusive club of Hobey Baker winners.

With the Hobey Top 10 now in focus, I’ve put together my thoughts on the field and which players I think have the best case to be included in the Hobey Hat Trick and who might be in the lead to claim the ultimate prize next month in St. Paul at the 2024 Men’s Frozen Four. First, here's the list.

Who Made The Hobey Baker Top Ten In 2024?

  • Jackson Blake, North Dakota
  • Macklin Celebrini, Boston University
  • Jack Devine, Denver
  • Cutter Gauthier, Boston College
  • Collin Graf, Quinnipiac
  • Lane Hutson, Boston University
  • Kyle McClellan, Wisconsin
  • Liam McLinskey, Holy Cross
  • Sam Morton, Minnesota State
  • Will Smith, Boston College

Hobey Top 10 Analysis

Jackson Blake, RW, North Dakota (CAR)

Currently second in the NCAA with 57 points, Blake has been the offensive leader of a resurgent season for North Dakota. He has been held off the score sheet just once since the calendar flipped to 2024, coming into the NCHC Frozen Faceoff on a nine-game point streak. The sophomore is a finalist to be the NCHC’s player of the year and ended on such a high note that it’s hard to see the prize going to anyone else. At this point, Blake looks like the West’s best chance for representation in the Hobey Hat Trick.

Macklin Celebrini, C, Boston University (2024)

The youngest player in college hockey very well might be its best. Celebrini is tied for the NCAA lead with 1.67 points per game and is one of just two players in the country to have scored 30 or more goals this season. Celebrini has 55 points and while his points-per-game pace is behind that of both Jack Eichel and Adam Fantilli in their Hobey-winning seasons, there’s no question Celebrini has been as impactful. He’s by far BU’s best player, 11 points clear of his next closest teammate and his 30 goals on their own outscores all but five of his teammates. He was just named the Hockey East Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year, becoming just the fourth player in history to accomplish that feat. The other three were or are NHL stars: Jack Eichel, Paul Kariya and Brian Leetch.

You still have to remind yourself that he’s still just 17 years old. His is the second-most productive season by a U18 player in the history of the NCAA with only Craig Simpson in the high-scoring mid-1980s having a better total. No matter how you slice it, Celebrini’s season has been special and worthy of inclusion in the Hobey Hat Trick.

Jack Devine, LW, Denver (FLA)

Goals carry a lot of weight and Devine has scored a lot of them. He was named a finalist for the NCHC Player of the Year, edging out teammates Massimo Rizzo and Zeev Buium for the honor. Devine sits fourth in the NCAA with 54 points, posting an even 27 goals and 27 assists thusfar. Points-per-game is where Devine trails the group a bit. He sits ninth with 1.42 points per game.  That said, Devine is a junior and as such one of the most senior players in the mix. The Hobey committee has notoriously favored upper classmen in their voting, but I think the field will dictate a different outcome this time around.

Cutter Gauthier, C, Boston College (ANA)

The nation’s leading goal scorer, Gauthier has scored 32 times so far for BC. He’s also taken a nation-leading 185 shots, well clear of his next closest competitor Jimmy Snuggerud who has 169 shots in two more games played. Gauthier has been an integral part of the No. 1 team in the nation and that will carry a lot of sway. So will his nine game-winning goals and the many times he’s come up big in the biggest games for the Eagles. As a finalist for the Hockey East Player of the Year award, he probably has a leg up on his other qualified teammates. I would be stunned if Gauthier is not part of the Hobey Hat Trick ceremony this year. 

Collin Graf, C/W, Quinnipiac (UFA)

For the second straight season, Graf has been a scoring machine for Quinnipiac and is in the Hobey Top 10. The defending national champs have leaned on their top returning scorer and Graf has delivered. His 1.55 points per game rank sixth in the NCAA as he has 44 points in 28 games. The lack of games played could hurt Graf. He was injured earlier this season and ended up missing eight of his teams games, which certainly would have helped bolster his case. A strong couple of weeks from Graf, especially if there’s some hardware in there for the Bobcats could support his cause.

Lane Hutson, D, Boston University (MTL)

A top-10 finalist last season, Hutson's production continues to impress. He leads all NCAA defensemen with 1.33 points per game and is tied for tops among all blueliners with 44 points. He's been a dynamic presence on the back end and is just four points behind his total from his historic freshman season. I had thought last season, Hutson was a deserving candidate for inclusion for the Hobey Hat Trick, but this year the competition might be a little too steep. Either way, he's had two incredible seasons in college hockey and should he return for his junior season, he'd do so as the favorite to win this award.

Kyle McClellan, G, Wisconsin (UFA)

The top goalie in the country in terms of save percentage at .931, McClellan was an absolute rock for the Badgers in a resurgent season. He posted seven shutouts this year, which also led the NCAA. As we’ve seen, goalies typically have to have an otherworldly body of work in order to get the Hobey Baker. I think McClellan’s is good enough for top 10, but probably not the Hobey Hat Trick. I’d be very surprised, however, if he does not win the Mike Richter Award as the NCAA’s goalie of the year.

Liam McLinskey, LW, Holy Cross (UFA)

The Atlantic Hockey Player of the Year, McLinskey sits 12th in the NCAA with 47 points. He had points in 14 of his last 15 games to close out the year and came up with a lot of clutch plays. Unfortunately for McLinskey, he won’t be able to build on his resume as Holy Cross was bounced in three games in the Atlantic Hockey semis by AIC. The Hobey Committee likes to get as many conferences represented in the top 10 and McLinskey is a very worthy inclusion from Atlantic Hockey.

Sam Morton, C, Minnesota State (CGY)

Morton was recently named CCHA player of the year after a sensational goal-scoring season with the Mavericks. An injury cost him most of last season, but he was able to get an additional year of eligibility. He played parts of six seasons in the NCAA and was dedicated to Minnesota State when a lot of other players left in the wake of a coach departure. Morton, however, was exceptional. he had 24 goals in 37 games in his final season. He ended up earning an NHL contract with the Calgary Flames following his season with Minnesota State. Morton checks the senior box well, but I don't think his production was enough to get him into the Hat Trick. Either way, what a season he had and tremendous dedication he showed to his program.

Will Smith, C, Boston College (SJS)

Currently the nation’s top scorer with 58 points, Smith has been exceptional this season. He’s just 0.01 points per game behind Celebrini and teammate Gabe Perreault for tops in the NCAA. He also leads the country with 40 assists, three clear of anyone else at this point. Boston College deserves a couple of entries on this list and it would appear Smith is the most likely to join Gauthier, though I think the committee will lean more heavily on Gauthier’s goal total when deciding between the two when it comes to Hat Trick consideration.

Hobey Hat Trick Prediction

My picks at this point for the Hobey Hat Trick: Macklin Celebrini, Cutter Gauthier and Jackson Blake.

Frozen Four 2024 Schedule

Here is the schedule: 

Frozen Four 2024 National Semifinals:

Thursday, April 11:

  • 5:00 p.m. ET - Semifinal 1 at Xcel Energy Center | St. Paul, MN (ESPN2/ ESPN+)
  • 8:30 p.m. ET - Semifinal 2 at Xcel Energy Center | St. Paul, MN (ESPN2/ ESPN+).

Frozen Four 2024 National Championship Game

Saturday, April 13:

  • 6:00 p.m. ET - National Championship at Xcel Energy Center | St. Paul, MN (ESPN2/ ESPN+).

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