Minnesota Duluth defenseman Scott Perunovich, North Dakota forward Jordan Kawaguchi and Maine goalie Jeremy Swayman were named the Hobey Baker Award Hat Trick finalists, the award committee announced Thursday. The award, given annually to the top player in college hockey, will be announced at 10 a.m. April 11 on ESPN.
Perunovich, a junior from Hibbing, Minn., helped Minnesota Duluth win back-to-back national championships in 2018 and ’19 and had the Bulldogs in the running for a three-peat. He was named NCHC player of the year, along with the conference’s offensive defenseman of the year for the third consecutive season, after winning the NCHC scoring title with four goals and a league-high 28 assists in 24 conference games. Perunovich ranked second nationally in scoring by a defenseman (6-34-40), ranked second nationally among all skaters with 34 assists and tied for the NCAA lead with 22 power-play points. He was named national player of the year by College Hockey News.
A 2018 second-round NHL draft pick with St. Louis, Perunovich signed a two-year, entry level deal with the Blues last week.
Kawaguchi, a junior from Abbotsford, British Columbia, was named NCHC forward of the year and national player of the year by U.S. College Hockey Online. He had 45 points, second in the nation, on 15 goals and 30 assists. Kawaguchi also had a nation’s-best 13 game-winning points, along with five game-winning goals, as the Fighting Hawks won the NCHC regular-season title and entered the postseason as the No. 1 team in the PairWise Ratings.
Kawaguchi announced earlier this week that he will return to North Dakota for his senior season.
Swayman, a junior from Anchorage, Alaska, led Division I hockey in saves with 1,099 and ranked second in save percentage at .939. He had a 2.07 goals-against average (14th nationally) and had three shutouts. A fourth-round NHLH pick by Boston in 2017, Swayman signed with the Bruins in March.
Criteria for the Hobey Baker Award include: displaying outstanding skills in all phases of the game, strength of character on and off the ice, sportsmanship and scholastic achievements.