Each year, members of the Hockey East Writers and Broadcasters' Association (HEWBA) are given the opportunity to vote for both preseason and postseason awards. With the conference season nearly complete, those covering any or all of Hockey East were asked to submit their votes for Hockey East player of the year, coach of the year, rookie of the year, two all-league teams, and an all-rookie team.
Here's how I voted:
Player of the Year: Jack Eichel, Boston University
Ugh, I know. But he'll probably be the unanimous choice, and rightly so. An historic season. He should win the Hobey Baker award as well.
Coach of the Year: Mike Cavanaugh, Connecticut
This was a tough choice. I think Cav was an easier choice about a month ago before the wheels fell off the #icebus and they skidded to a 9th place finish and a quick exit from the Octofinals. However, the season they put together far exceeded expectations. Cavanaugh got the most out of the talent he had available, and got a fanbase excited about their fledgling team.
I think David Quinn of BU will likely win, and he won't be a wrong choice per se. BU has certainly exceeded expectations and improved a lot from last year. Your mileage may vary as to whether you want to deduct credit from Quinn because he has Eichel, or give Quinn credit for landing Eichel.
This sounds a little silly on the heels of what happened over the weekend, but Jerry York deserved consideration as well, at least among people who voted before the playoffs started. I think he also managed to squeeze the most out of the talent on his roster, and his team looked much better in the second half than it did in the first. I'm not sure who else is a legitimate candidate aside from Cav and Quinn.
Rookie of the Year: Jack Eichel, BU
HEWBA First Team
F Jack Eichel, Boston University
F Kevin Roy, Northeastern
F Vince Hinostroza, Notre Dame
D Matt Grylzyx, Boston University
D Noah Hanifin, Boston College
G Jon Gillies, Providence
F Evan Rodrigues, BU
F Danny O'Regan, BU
F Tyler Kelleher, UNH
D Ian McCoshen, BC
D Dylan Zink, Lowell
G Thatcher Demko, BC
Oksanen was the toughest to exclude here, but I didn't want to leave out Kelleher, who was hugely valuable to a good UNH offense. McCoshen is another guy whose value greatly exceeds his scoring numbers. Being the leader amongst BC's stellar defense corps in +/- at least begins to shine some light on how steady McCoshen is.
Robbie Russo of Notre Dame is a huge snub here, I freely admit. He will deservedly land on either the first team or the second team and would be my pick if you let me pick a 5th defenseman. On paper he certainly deserves the nod over either of the BC guys I voted for, so go ahead and call me a homer if you want.
HEWBA Rookie Team
F Jack Eichel, BU
F CJ Smith, Lowell
F Alex Tuch, BC
D Noah Hanifin, BC
D Brandon Hickey, BU
G Cal Petersen, ND
Most of these choices were slam dunks. In fact, maybe all of them were. I guess someone might argue Tuch. Cal Petersen made a claim for a second team spot with his play down the stretch, and is clearly the logical choice for all-rookie goalie.