In what has proven to be a somewhat controversial decision, Minnesota State goaltender Dryden McKay on Friday was recognized as the winner of the 2022 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, which is presented annually to the top player in men’s college hockey.
McKay beat out Denver forward Bobby Brink, the nation’s leading scorer, and Minnesota forward Ben Meyers. He is the first Minnesota State player to win the award and the first netminder to win in more than two decades — despite not winning the Mike Richter Award as the nation’s top goaltender.
The Richter Award was presented earlier Friday to Northeastern goaltender Devon Levi, who was not a top-three finalist for the Hobey Baker Award despite finishing the season with a .952 save percentage that led the nation and a 1.54 goals against average, which ranked third.
McKay’s 1.27 goals against average ranked second in the nation, sandwiched between Levi and Quinnipiac’s Yaniv Perets (who also was a finalist for the Richter Award.) But Levi made 952 saves through 32 games, good for sixth in the nation, while McKay was much further down the leaderboard with 746 saves in 42 games. Simply put, Levi — even in limited minutes while he represented Canada at the 2022 Beijing Olympics — put in more work than McKay in the 2021-22 season.
McKay set an NCAA record for single-season wins with 38, and he could reach 39 given Minnesota State will battle Denver on Saturday for the national championship.
McKay, a senior who is a free agent, certainly has had an illustrious career. The Illinois native is a two-time Hobey Hat Trick Finalist and three-time WCHA goaltending champion and has posted a 1.45 goals against average and .933 save percentage through 138 games.
But in terms of the 2021-22 season, Levi was the clear winner between the pipes.
For what it’s worth, Levi will be returning to Northeastern in 2022-23 and will get another shot at the Hobey.