The 2014-15 season was a banner year for rookies in Hockey East, making it very difficult to narrow down just six recipients to be recognized on the SB Nation Hockey East All-Rookie Team. Realizing that a few deserving players were left off, here's this observer's ballot:
Forward: Jack Eichel, Boston University
Forward: C.J. Smith, UMass Lowell
Forward: Alex Tuch, Boston College
Defenseman: Noah Hanifin, Boston College
Defenseman: Brandon Hickey, Boston University
Goaltender: Cal Petersen, Notre Dame
An argument could be made for several other players. Let's start with the obvious. Eichel, Hanifin and Hickey are obvious selections. An argument could certainly be made for Brandon Montour as he had a terrific impact on UMass in the second semester after joining the team over the Christmas break. However, as good as he was, was he better than Hickey or Hanifin? The answer is a resounding no.
Another player who only played half the season was Danny Tirone, a semester break addition at UNH. The goaltender's numbers weren't as good as Petersen's, but his presence helped kickstart a much better second half. He was 9-4 in league play. UNH was 1-7-1 in league play when Tirone didn't factor in the decision.
Up front, a legitimate argument could be made to include Merrimack's Brett Seney or UMass' Dennis Kravchenko. Seney's production trailed off down the stretch as he battled injury, but his impact was key on Merrimack's first half success. His speed added an element to the Warriors' game that was missing. Kravchenko was good and was up for debate with Smith of UMass Lowell. This observer went with Smith over Kravchenko because of team success and for Smith having more of an impact on the success of his team.
UConn's Spencer Naas, Providence's Jake Walman and Notre Dame's Jordan Gross were other players who were tough to leave off the ballot.
Three of the picks were no-brainers, but the rest of the All-Rookie team really tested the brain.