ST. PAUL, Minn -- Junior defenseman Justin Schultz was named a 2012 Hobey Baker Memorial Award Top 10 finalist Thursday evening, earning the honor for the second-straight year.
The Hobey Baker Award is an honor given annually to the top collegiate hockey player in the country. Blake Geoffrion became the first Badger to win the honor when he took home the award in 2010.
The Badgers now have had 12 finalists overall since the award was founded in 1981, including the only school in the country with a finalist in each of the last four seasons.
Schultz, a West Kelowna, British Columbia native, leads the nation’s defenseman with 44 points and a 1.19 points-per-game mark. His 16 goals are tied for the national lead among defenseman, while his 28 assists rank second among rear guards.
The fifth Badger top-10 finalist in four seasons, Schultz was recently named the 2012 WCHA Defensive Player of the Year and a member of the 2012 Al-WCHA First Team. All three honors are the second straight for Schultz. His defensive player of the year honor made him the third player in league history to earn the honor twice.
A dominant player on the ice, Schultz became the first defenseman in UW history to lead the team in goal scoring and has reached 40 for his career through three seasons. The total is good for third on the all-time UW list for scoring among defensemen, just two shy of the school record, while the total also ranks ninth all-time in WCHA history.
For his career, Schultz has 40 goals and 73 assists, including 21 power-play goals and five game-winning scores. Schultz has also collected 12 multi-point games this season and 28 multi-point games across three years with the Badgers.
Earlier this season, the assistant captain became the first Badger defenseman since Brian Rafalski in the 1994-95 season to reach the 100-point career mark. He used 10-game and seven-game point streaks to help reach the mark. Now at 113 points, Schultz is tied for eighth place among all UW defenseman in program history.
Schultz is a 2008 second-round draft choice (43rd overall) of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks.
The top 10 finalists will be narrowed down to three when the Hobey Hat Trick is announced March 29. The Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner will be announced April 6 at the Frozen Four.
The other Top-10 finalists for the 2012 Hobey Baker Award include forward Spencer Abbot (Maine), forward Jack Connolly (Minnesota Duluth), defenseman Brian Dumoulin (Boston College), goaltender Troy Grosenick (Union), goaltender Shawn Hunwick (Michigan), defenseman Tim Kirby (Air Force), defenseman Torey Krug (Michigan State), forward Austin Smith (Colgate) and forward Reilly Smith (Miami). Reilly Smith is the brother of former Badger defenseman and 2010 Hobey Baker top-10 finalist Brendan Smith.
Wisconsin Hobey Baker Award Finalists
2012: Justin Schultz
2011: Justin Schultz
2010: Blake Geoffrion (winner)
2010: Brendan Smith
2009: Jamie McBain
2006: Brian Elliott (top three)
2001: Dany Heatley
2000: Steve Reinprecht (runner up)
1992: Duane Derksen
1988: Paul Ranheim
1987: Tony Granato
1982: John Newberry