Vesey finished the regular season with 46 points in 33 games, including 24 goals.
But many observers wouldn’t put the Harvard senior down as being the best collegiate hockey player this season, with some considering the honour a case of recognizing an entire career rather than a single season.
Even Vesey seems aware of the distinction.
“It’s definitely a huge honour. Definitely joining elite company as well,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect. Obviously, Kyle Connor had such a great year, and Thatcher [Demko] had 10 shutouts; that’s pretty amazing. I wasn’t really expecting much. I was just happy to be a finalist again. I’m lucky enough that they chose me, and like I said, it’s a huge honor.”
Michigan’s Connor did have a great year, with 35 goals and 71 points in 38 games. He was held without a point in only three games this season, but he was a rookie and the Hobey Baker is typically reserved for upperclassmen. Consider that Vesey lost the honour to Jack Eichel last year.
Boston College netminder and Vancouver Canucks prospect Thatcher Demko was tremendous, too. He had the aforementioned 10 shutouts, plus he entered the Frozen Four with a .936 save percentage.
Regardless, Vesey is on his way to the big time and the Hobey Baker Award is certainly deserved to some extent. He’s a great hockey player, a two-time ECAC Player of the Year and a two-time Walter Brown Award winner as the best American-born college skater out of New England.
And he chose to turn down the opportunity to play for the Nashville Predators in favour of skating one more time with the Harvard Crimson, a decision that likely hemmed up the Hobey Baker Award quite nicely.
Vesey was drafted by Nashville in the third round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, but he has yet to sign with the team. He’s expected to hit free agency in August, at which point some have predicted that he’ll try on a deal with the Boston Bruins.
Past winners of the Hobey Baker Award include Paul Kariya, Brendan Morrison, Chris Drury, Ryan Miller, Matt Carle, and Johnny Gaudreau.