Harvard senior Jimmy Vesey has been named the winner of the 2016 Hobey Baker Award, recognizing the best collegiate player in the nation.
Vesey put up 46 points in 33 games for 1.39 points per game, the seventh best mark in the nation. His 23 goals tied for sixth in the nation.
He’s a two-time ECAC Player of the Year and the first ECAC player to win college hockey’s top honor since 1989 when Lane McDonald won the award. Only four ECAC players have ever taken home the Hobey Baker and all four have been from Harvard.
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This was the second time Vesey was a part of the Hobey Hat Trick, losing out to Boston University’s Jack Eichel last season.
Vesey has been in the spotlight lately as a top prospect who went to his senior year and decided to exercise his right to not sign with the team that drafted. He has informed the Nashville Predators that he will not play for them.
Vesey beat out Boston College goaltender Thatcher Demko and University of Michigan freshman Kyle Connor, who rounded out the Hobey Hat Trick.
The big snub may have been Connor, who led the nation in scoring with 71 points in 38 games. Second place was eight points behind him and Vesey was 25 points back. Since the 1992-93 season, only three freshman have led the country in scoring and two won the Hobey Baker. Conor is the third.
A part of the argument for Vesey’s totals over Connor’s is based on them playing in different conferences. The ECAC has stiffer competition throughout the ranks than the Big 10, which things out pretty quickly.
No matter if there are arguments for Connor, there’s no doubt Vesey was one of the nation’s most lethal forwards.
Importantly, the criteria for winning the Hobey Baker doesn’t just rely on a player’s on-ice performance, but their character, sportsmanship and scholastic achievements.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.