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2017 Patty Kazmaier Award: SB Nation poll

The Ice Garden weighs in on who should win 2017’s Patty Kazmaier Award

Desbiens, Mercer, Stalder duke it out for the nation’s top women’s NCAA player
Pattykaz.com

The Ice Garden welcomes you to our first ever Patty Kazmaier Top 3 Finalist poll. We polled seven of our most knowledgeable columnists and asked them to provide their top player in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey as well as how they would rate the three finalists against each other. Crowned tomorrow morning at 9:30AM CT, this year’s award winner will join the revered women’s hockey likes of Alex Carpenter, Amanda Kessel, Julie Chu, and Angelo Ruggiero to name a few prior recipients.

Contributing their rankings and thoughts to this list were:

Hannah Bevis, The Ice Garden Site Manager

Nathan Wells, SBNation College Hockey Columnist

Madison Taylor, WCHA Columnist

Nathan Vaughan, NCAA Columnist

Jon Beidelschies, ECAC Columnist

Laura Berestecki, Hockey East Columnist

Anthony Mauro, NCAA Editor

Your SB Nation 2017 Patty Kaz Award Winner:

1. Ann-Renée Desbiens, G, Wisconsin — Boston Pride (2016 4th OA)

Average Rank: 1.14

1st place ballots: 6

2nd place ballots: 1

Comments:

“It's difficult for a goaltender to win the Patty Kazmaier (and honestly there probably should be a best goaltender award similar to the Mike Richter Award), but Desbiens is in a league of her own and deserving to be the first since fellow Wisconsin goaltender Jessie Vetter in 2009. Leading the top team in the nation throughout the regular season, Desbiens' .963 save percentage (somehow one-upping her .960% as a junior) is in a league of its own, .10 more than any other goalie and over .20 than the next full time starter. No team has scored more than 2 goals in a game this season against Desbiens. The Badgers have many weapons throughout its lineup. None are more consistent or effective than Desbiens.” - Nathan Wells

“It's always hard to pick a winner for a most valuable award (in my mind) because there are two different ways you can approach it. Who's the most valuable player in women's college hockey, period, or who is the most valuable to their team? I really tried to pick Stalder, I swear. She's had a career year and is invaluable to a stellar UMD team. But I can't NOT pick Desbiens, after she broke the shutout record this year and has led a Wisconsin team that's been nothing short of unstoppable. Any other year, I'd pick Stalder, and even this year, it's so close. But if a goalie ever deserved to win the Patty Kaz, it's Desbiens.” - Hannah Bevis

“This one is not even close. Ann-Renée Desbiens is a generational talent having one of the all-time great goaltending seasons in the modern era. Look at the peer comparisons. While Mercer and Stadler have been fantastic, so have Kelly Pannek, Brooke Webster, and Kennedy Marchment. In a season of outstanding goaltending, Desbiens stands far and away beyond all the other goaltenders in the country. She's already on pace to break her own NCAA Division I season goals against average and save percentage records. She backstops the best team in the country. She has lost just one game all year long on a schedule that included Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth, Clarkson and other top teams. Desbiens could have won last year. She deserves it this year.” - Jon Beidelschies

2. Lara Stalder, F, Minnesota-Duluth — Boston Pride (2016 20th OA)

Average Rank: 2.29

1st place ballots: 1

2nd place ballots: 3

3rd place ballots: 3

Comments:

“While a lot of things are working for the Bulldogs this season (goaltending, offense, and coaching come to mind), they would not be where they are without Stalder. UMD was not on anyone's lists at the beginning of the season, and now they're at the top. Stalder's ability to make plays, score goals, and still have a good defensive game is incredible. Not to mention, she's both a superstar and a team player. She lifts the quality of play of those around her.” - Maddie Taylor

3. Cayley Mercer, F, Clarkson— Buffalo Beauts (2016 6th OA)

Average Rank: 2.57

1st place ballots: 0

2nd place ballots: 3

3rd place ballots: 4

Comments:

“Mercer is still in the midst of finishing off a banner year that has seen her lead Clarkson to the title game as well as land 2nd in scoring the night before the award ceremony. She is as complete a player the league has seen, with a skill set and will that is going to translate to the pro game seamlessly. She has certainly earned her place in this top 3.” - Anthony Mauro