The Mike Richter Award has been launched and will go to the top goalie in NCAA. Here’s a list of all 18 candidates and some of the favorites.
The first-ever Mike Richter Award will be given out to the top goalie in the NCAA this year and it’s a wide-open field of 18 candidates.
The creation of the award was officially announced last October by Let’s Play Hockey and the Herb Brooks Foundation, but the field was narrowed down today. It will be presented at the NCAA Frozen Four in Philadelphia, April 10-12.
The 18 candidates were nominated by the 59 coaches at the Div. 1 level of NCAA hockey. The finalists will be determined by a panel coaches, scouts and media.
Guidelines are more than just on-ice goaltending ability. Committee members are asked to consider the goalie’s academic standing, his academic achievement and sportsmanship and his involvement in the community.
Based on on-ice ability alone, two of the favorites have to be junior Ryan Faragher from St. Cloud State and sophomore Adam Wilcox from Minnesota. They’re currently one-two among goalies in fan balloting for the Hobey Baker Award – with 20,300 and 10,588 votes, respectively.
Based on long-term upside, the best NHL prospects according to our Future Watch issue are sophomore Jon Gillies from Providence (Calgary Flames draft pick), sophomore Connor Hellebuyck from UMass-Lowell (Winnipeg Jets) and senior Sam Brittain from Denver (Florida Panthers). All are among their NHL team’s top 10 prospects.
However, the goalie with the best big-league potential of all is probably freshman Thatcher Demko from Boston College. He’s a top prospect in the 2014 NHL draft.
But this award will be about more than just potential or popularity. Statistics have to be taken into consideration.
The candidates with the best overall numbers are senior Steve Summerhays from Notre Dame (17-11-2, 1.90 goals-against average, .929 save percentage and seven shutouts), junior Joel Rumpel from Wisconsin (16-4-1, 1.83, .936, 2 SO), junior Clay Witt from Northeastern (16-8-3, 2.17, .940, 4 SO).
Wilcox, Hellebuyck and Demko also have excellent personal stats.
But perhaps the biggest factor in determining the winner will be the intangibles. Panelists will largely consider their gut feel on who the best or most valuable goalie to his team was this season. And that’s what will make it an interesting race.
Here are the other candidates:
• Senior Aaron Crandell from Minnesota Duluth.
• Sophomore Jake Hildebrand from Michigan State.
• Senior Andy Iles from Cornell.
• Junior C.J. Motte from Ferris State.
• Freshman Zach Nagelvoort from Michigan.
• Senior Martin Ouellette from Maine.
• Junior Jimmy Sarjeant from Mercyhurst.
• Junior Colin Stevens from Union.
• Senior Jason Torf from Air Force.
Mike Richter played two seasons at the University of Wisconsin before embarking on a 14-year NHL career with the New York Rangers. He won a Stanley Cup and ranks 27th in all-time NHL goalie wins with 301.
Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Brian Costello on Twitter at @BCostelloTHN