Senior forward Jimmy Vesey of Harvard University, freshman forward Kyle Connor of the University of Michigan and junior goaltender Thatcher Demko of Boston College on Thursday were named finalists for the 2016 Hobey Baker Award as college hockey's top player.
The award will be announced April 8 at the Tampa Theatre in Florida during the NCAA Frozen Four. The three finalists were selected from a top-10 list of candidates by the 27-member selection committee and an additional round of online fan balloting.
Vesey, a third-round pick (No. 66) in the 2012 NHL Draft by the Nashville Predators, is the only repeat finalist from 2015. The two-time Ivy League Player of the Year and ECAC Player of the Year has 23 goals and 44 points in 30 games for the Crimson. Vesey, the nation's leading goal scorer the past two seasons with 56 goals, also won the Walter Brown Award as the best American-born player in New England.
Vesey, 22, made public Wednesday his desire to test free agency rather than sign with the Predators, who lose his rights Aug. 15. He scored 80 goals in 128 games at Harvard, which was eliminated by Boston College in the NCAA tournament on March 25.
Demko was named most outstanding player at the Northeast Regional in the NCAA tournament. He led the nation with 10 shutouts in the regular season. His .936 save percentage is tied for second in the country and his 1.85 goals-against is tied for seventh. A second-round pick (No. 36) in the 2014 draft by the Vancouver Canucks, Demko is 27-7-4 this season for the Eagles. He was named co-Player of the Year in Hockey East. Boston College will play against Quinnipiac in the Frozen Four on April 7 in Tampa.
Connor, a first-round choice (No. 17) in the 2015 draft by the Winnipeg Jets, led the nation with 35 goals and 71 points in 38 games. He had 19 multipoint efforts and ended the season with a 27-game point streak. He was named Big 10 Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year. Connor finished fifth in the country with a plus-34 rating. The Wolverines were eliminated from the NCAA tournament by the University of North Dakota in the Midwest Regional final on March 26.