Today is a big day for Adam Gaudette for a couple of reasons.
Not only is he going to fulfill a lifelong dream, suiting up for his first-ever NHL game with the Vancouver Canucks, but the 21-year-old was also named a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award on Thursday.
Given annually to the top college hockey player in the NCAA, Gaudette is up against Florida Panthers first round pick Henrik Borgstrom (Denver) and Boston Bruins second rounder Ryan Donato (Harvard) for the award.
“We’re very proud of Adam for putting himself in a position to win college hockey’s highest individual honour,” said Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan. “He has been one of the top players in the NCAA for the last two seasons, which is a testament to the level of work that he puts into his game daily both on and off the ice. It was a privilege to have him as a member of our team for the last three seasons. His work ethic and determination have certainly rubbed off on his teammates, which will positively impact our program well into the future.”
If Gaudette wins the award, he’ll become the first Canucks draft pick to ever do it. The last Canucks property to be named a finalist for the award was Thatcher Demko, who finished third in voting in 2016.
Canucks fans are understandably excited to see Gaudette, who scored 60 points (30-30-60) in 38 games with Northeastern University this season. A fifth-round draft pick by Vancouver in 2015, his stock has risen considerably since then.
“Adam has had a remarkable season and college career playing at Northeastern,” said Canucks GM Jim Benning shortly after signing the Braintree, Massachusetts native to a contract on Monday. “He’s a very talented player and has shown an ability to score, make plays and contribute in all situations at the collegiate level. We’re excited to have him join our team and continue his development as a professional.”
Gaudette will Nikita Tryamkin’s old No. 88 jersey and is expected to line up at centre.