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Perunovich among 10 finalists for Hobey Baker Award

Blues defenseman prospect had 40 points in 34 games for Minnesota Duluth

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

Scott Perunovich, a defenseman prospect for the St. Louis Blues with the University of Minnesota Duluth, is among the 10 candidates for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award on Wednesday.

The Hobey Baker Award is presented annually to recognize the top NCAA men's hockey player.

The three finalists for the 2020 Hobey Baker Award will be revealed April 2, and the winner announced April 10 (6 p.m. ET; NHLN).

Perunovich was selected by the Blues in the second round (No. 45) of the 2018 NHL Draft and the 21-year-old junior had 40 points (six goals, 34 assists) in 34 games. He had 32 points (four goals, 28 assists) in 24 National Collegiate Hockey Conference games to become the first defenseman to lead the conference in scoring.

Six of the 10 finalists have been drafted by NHL teams. Along with Perunovich are Cornell forward Morgan Barron (New York Rangers), Providence forward Jack Dugan (Vegas Golden Knights), Boston University defenseman David Farrance (Nashville Predators), Massachusetts forward John Leonard (San Jose Sharks), and Maine goalie Jeremy Swayman (Boston Bruins).

The 10 candidates were selected by voting from all 60 NCAA Division I college hockey coaches and via online fan balloting.

Here's a closer look at the 10 candidates (listed in alphabetical order):

Morgan Barron, F, Cornell: The 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior helped lead Cornell(23-2-4) to a first-place finish in the ECAC and the No. 1 ranking in the national poll. He had 32 points (14 goals, 18 assists) and won 56.1 percent of his face-offs in 29 games. The 21-year-old was chosen by the Rangers in the sixth round (No. 174) of the 2017 NHL Draft.

Jason Cotton, F, Sacred Heart: The 25-year-old senior had 37 points (20 goals, 17 assists) and three shorthanded goals in 34 games. He was named Atlantic Hockey Player of the Year and was named to the conference's first All-Star team.

Jack Dugan, F, Providence: The 6-foot-2, 185-pound sophomore led all NCAA players with 52 points, 42 assists and a 1.53 points-per-game average and 17 multipoint games in 34 games. Dugan, selected by the Golden Knights in the fifth round (No. 142) of the 2017 NHL Draft, is a finalist for Hockey East Player of the Year.

David Farrance, D, Boston University: The 20-year-old left-shot junior, chosen by the Predators in the third round (No. 92) of the 2017 NHL Draft, led NCAA defensemen with 43 points (14 goals, 29 assists) in 34 games. His nine power-play goals tied for fifth among all players and his 21 power-play points were tied for third.

Jordan Kawaguchi, F, North Dakota: The 22-year-old junior was second in the NCAA with 45 points (15 goals, 30 assists) in 33 games. He also had 13 game-winning points (five goals, eight assists) and 15 multipoint games.

John Leonard, F, Massachusetts: The 21-year-old junior led the NCAA with 27 goals and six game-winning goals in 33 games, and he was one of three players with an NCAA-high two hat tricks. Chosen by the Sharks in the sixth round (No. 182) of the 2018 NHL Draft, Leonard is a finalist for Hockey East Player of the Year.

Dryden McKay, G, Minnesota State: The 22-year-old sophomore led the NCAA in wins (30), goals-against average (1.31), save percentage (.942), and shutouts (10) in 37 games. He allowed two goals or fewer in 30 of 36 starts and was named Western Collegiate Hockey Association Goaltender of the Year.

Marc Michaelis, F, Minnesota State: The 5-10, 180-pound 24-year-old senior, born in Mannheim, Germany, led the WCHA with 44 points (20 goals, 24 assists) in 31 games. A captain the past two seasons, he was named WCHA Offensive Player of the Year and was named First Team All-WCHA for the fourth straight season.

Scott Perunovich, D, Minnesota Duluth: Perunovich was second in the NCAA with 34 assists and was tied for first with Dugan with 22 power-play points (three goals, 19 assists) and was named First Team All-NCHC for the third straight season.

Jeremy Swayman, G, Maine: The 6-2, 187-pound junior faced more shots (1,170) and made more saves (1,099) than any NCAA goalie. He went 18-11-5 with a 2.07 GAA, a .939 save percentage and three shutouts 34 games. Swayman, born in Anchorage, Alaska, won the Walter Brown Award as the top United States-born player in New England and is a finalist for Hockey East Player of the Year. He was chosen by the Bruins in the fourth round (No. 111) of the 2017 NHL Draft, and signed a three-year entry-level contract March 18.

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