Canadiens prospect Cole Caufield wins 2021 Hobey Baker Award

Team USA's Matt Boldy celebrates a goal with teammate Cole Caufield. (Jason Franson/CP)

Montreal Canadiens prospect Cole Caufield has won the 2021 Hobey Baker Award, an honour given annually to the best player in the NCAA.

The Canadiens' 2019 first-round pick, Caufield was one of the most prolific scorers in college hockey this year, scoring 30 goals and adding 22 assists in 31 games for the University of Wisconsin. Caufield is just the second Badgers player to ever win the Hobey Baker, and the first to do so in over a decade. The last player to do so was Blake Geoffrion, who won it in 2010.

Previous winners of the award include, Paul Kariya (1993), Brendan Morrison (1997), Chris Drury (1998), Ryan Miller (2001), Johnny Gaudreau (2014), Jack Eichel (2015) and Cale Makar (2019).

Caufield earned the 2021 honour over forward Shane Pinto, a North Dakota sophomore, and Minnesota State junior goaltender Dryden McKay.

The 20-year-old, whose offensive dynamism made him the first player to win back-to-back NCAA scoring titles, was previously honoured as the Big Ten’s Player of the Year and First Team all-conference.

The undersized sniper signed a three-year, entry-level contract with Montreal late last month and is slated to make his pro debut Friday with the Canadiens' AHL affiliate, the Laval Rocket.

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