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Vesey wins Hobey Baker Award

Harvard forward will be free agent after not signing with Predators

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Harvard University senior forward Jimmy Vesey on Friday won the 2016 Hobey Baker Award, given to the top player in men's NCAA hockey.

University of Michigan freshman forward Kyle Connor and Boston College junior goaltender Thatcher Demko were the other finalists. They were selected from a list of 10 candidates by the 27-member selection committee and an additional round of online fan balloting.

"I'm just honored to be here and honored to receive the award," Vesey said at the ceremony in Tampa, site of the 2016 Frozen Four. "And like I said, I can't say it enough, congrats to Kyle and Thatcher on their seasons, because they were both equally deserving of this award as well."

Vesey, a third-round pick (No. 66) in the 2012 NHL Draft by the Nashville Predators, was the only repeat finalist from 2015. The two-time Ivy League Player of the Year and ECAC Player of the Year had 24 goals and 46 points in 33 games for the Crimson. The 22-year-old chose to become a free agent rather than sign with the Predators; Nashville loses his rights on Aug. 15.

"I think I just wanted to finish what I started at Harvard and make sure I'm around for the next month or so of school to graduate and walk at graduation and receive my diploma," Vesey told NHL Network. "I'm going to train hard this summer and make sure when August comes I'm ready to pick which team I want to go to and enter training camp and kind of hit the ground running, so to speak."

Connor, a first-round pick (No. 17) in the 2015 draft by the Winnipeg Jets, led the nation with 35 goals and 71 points in 38 games. He ended the season with a 27-game point streak, and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year.

Demko was named most outstanding player at the Northeast Regional in the NCAA tournament, and led the nation with 10 shutouts in the regular season. He had a .935 save percentage (tied for second in the country) and 1.88 goals-against average. A second-round pick (No. 36) by the Vancouver Canucks in 2014, Demko was 27-8-4 this season for the Eagles. He was named co-Player of the Year in Hockey East. Boston College lost to Quinnipiac in the Frozen Four in Tampa on Thursday.

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