The Hobey Baker Memorial Award announced the top 10 finalists for the 2015-16 NCAA season. Seven of the ten players are USHL alumni, including players from five different USHL teams. Four of the alumni are NHL Draft picks, one undrafted forward recently signed an entry-level NHL contract and the two remaining are NHL free agents. USHL alumni, including Jack Eichel (Team USA) and Johnny Gaudreau (Dubuque Fighting Saints), have won the Hobey Baker Memorial Award in each of the past five seasons.
Below is a list of Hobey Baker Memorial Award top 10 finalists and a look at their development dating back to their USHL junior hockey careers:
J.T. Compher (Team USA): The University of Michigan forward is in his third college hockey season after graduating from Team USA. In 53 career USHL games, Compher scored 51 points including 20 goals prior to being selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2013 NHL Draft in the 2nd round, 35th overall. Compher scored 52 points in 34 games with the University of Michigan this season and is currently property of the Colorado Avalanche. The Northbrook, IL native played for Team Illinois (T1EHL) prior to joining Team USA.
Kyle Connor (Youngstown Phantoms): The University of Michigan forward is skating in his first NCAA season after graduating from the Youngstown Phantoms. In 174 career USHL games, Connor scored 195 points including 82 goals. Connor was named the 2015 USHL Player and Forward of the Year after helping the Phantoms win the Anderson Cup. Connor was selected by the Winnipeg Jets in the 2015 NHL Draft in the 1st round, 17th overall. Connor led the nation in scoring this year as a freshman with 61 points in 34 games including a NCAA-best 30 goals. The Shelby Township, MI native previously played for Belle Tire (T1EHL) prior to signing a tender with the Youngstown Phantoms.
Thatcher Demko (Team USA): The Boston College goaltender is playing in his third NCAA season. Demko played 34 career USHL games with the Omaha Lancers and Team USA, posting a 24-6-0 record with a career 2.48 GAA and .901 SV%. Demko shared the crease with fellow Hobey Baker top 10 finalist Alex Lyon during the Omaha Lancers 2011-12 season. Demko was selected by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2014 NHL Draft in the 2nd round, 36th overall. Demko finished the year with a 25-6-4 record with a 1.78 GAA and .938 SV%, including 10 shutouts. Demko previously played for the California Titans (NAPHL) prior to joining the Omaha Lancers.
Alex Lyon (Omaha Lancers): The Yale University goaltender is playing in his third college hockey season after graduating from the Omaha Lancers. Lyon played in 99 USHL games with a career 54-37-4 record including five shutouts. Lyon also picked up an invitation to the 2011-12 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game and USHL All-Rookie Team. Lyon posted a 2.73 GAA and .912 SV% across two full seasons with Omaha. Lyon shared the crease with fellow Hobey Baker top 10 finalist Thatcher Demko during the Omaha Lancers 2011-12 season. Lyon went undrafted and was 19-7-4 this season with a 1.59 GAA and .938 SV% in 30 games this season. The Baudette, MN native played for Lake of the Woods (USHS) prior to joining the Omaha Lancers full time.
Tyler Motte (Team USA): The University of Michigan forward is in his third college hockey season after graduating from Team USA. In 62 career USHL games Motte scored 45 points including 26 goals prior to being selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2013 NHL Draft in the 4th round, 121st overall. Motte scored 50 points in 34 games including 29 goals this season. The St. Clair, MI native played for Honeybaked (T1EHL) prior to joining Team USA.
Andrew Poturalski (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders): The University of New Hampshire forward completed his second NCAA season and recently signed an NHL entry-level contract with the Carolina Hurricanes. In 115 career USHL games, Poturalski scored 100 points including 41 goals. Poturalski finished tied for second in NCAA scoring with 52 points in 37 games. The Williamsville, NY native played for Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL) and Nichols School (USHS) prior to being selected in the 2010 USHL Phase I Draft in the 6th round, 87th overall.
Ethan Prow (Des Moines Buccaneers): The St. Cloud State University defenseman is skating in his fourth NCAA season. In 115 career USHL games, Prow picked up 46 points across two seasons. Prow produced 35 points in 34 games and a +29 rating on the year. Prow went undrafted and will be a NHL free agent following the conclusion of his NCAA career. The Sauk Rapids, MN native played for Sauk Rapids-Rice High (USHS) prior to joining the Des Moines Buccaneers.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 14th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2015-16. A record 37 players were chosen in the 2015 NHL Draft and more than 375 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.
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