The Hockey East Writers and Broadcasters Association will unveil its Preseason Poll and First Team All-Hockey East next Monday prior to the Hockey East Media Day at the TD Garden.
Below are the ballots Jeff Cox, Conor Ryan and Joshua Kummins submitted for the HEWBA Preseason All-Hockey East Team.
Kevin Roy, Alex Tuch, Matt Grzelcyk and Thatcher Demko were unanimous selections to the Preseason First Team All-Hockey East ballots by the three. There was mild disagreement on the last picks at the forward and defense positions.
|Jeff Cox||Conor Ryan||Joshua Kummins||SB Nation|
|Forward||Kevin Roy||Kevin Roy||Kevin Roy||Kevin Roy|
|Forward||Tyler Kelleher||Tyler Kelleher||Danny O'Regan||Tyler Kelleher|
|Forward||Alex Tuch||Alex Tuch||Alex Tuch||Alex Tuch|
|Defense||Matt Grzelcyk||Matt Grzelcyk||Matt Grzelcyk||Matt Grzelcyk|
|Defense||Tom Parisi||Brandon Hickey||Tom Parisi||Tom Parisi|
|Goaltender||Thatcher Demko||Thatcher Demko||Thatcher Demko||Thatcher Demko|
Roy, Grzelcyk and Demko were obvious picks. There was a lot of thought put into the other three picks. Danny O'Regan and Mario Puskarich were hard to leave off the ballot offensively. I ended up going with Kelleher and Tuch are over the others because Kelleher will play a very prominent role for the Wildcats and will put up some big numbers. As for Tuch, people have to remember he was a true freshman with a power game last season. He might not have put up the numbers some were expecting, but he'll make a big jump in his sophomore season. I gave some thought to Hickey and BC's Steve Santini and Ian McCoshen on defense. All three are better pro prospects than Parisi, but as far as a collegiate defenseman, it's tough to not like the Providence senior.
- Jeff Cox
Grzelcyk and Roy were no-brainers on my list, with the BU defenseman and Northeastern forward coming off campaigns punctuated by a First Team All-American nod and a Hockey East First Team All-Star selection, respectively. Demko was another shoo-in for goaltender after posting a 2.19 GAA and .925 save percentage between the pipes for the Eagles last year.
Compiling the rest of this list was a much tougher endeavor. Among the remaining forwards, offensive talents such as Danny O'Regan, C.J. Smith and Mario Puskarich were tough to leave off the list, but I ultimately opted for UNH's Tyler Kelleher and BC's Alex Tuch.
The 5-foot-6 Kelleher was a sparkplug for the Wildcats last year, notching 42 points in 39 games - good for sixth in Hockey East scoring. Expect more of the same from Kelleher in 2015-16, as the Longmeadow native is expected to shoulder more of the load on offense with the departures of Grayson Downing and Matt Willows. A true power forward on the ice, Alex Tuch impressed in his first year at Chestnut Hill, tallying 28 points and giving the Eagles a physical presence out on the ice. Expect another big jump from the first-round draft pick this winter.
The toughest selection was for the second defenseman spot, with Steve Santini, Ian McCoshen and Dylan Zink all standing out as prime candidates. Ultimately, I opted for Brandon Hickey, who orchestrated an impressive freshman season with the Terriers in their run to the national title game.
A smooth-skating blue liner with a physical game and an imposing shot from the point, Hickey did a little bit of everything last season, accumulating 17 points while leading all Hockey East defenseman with 91 blocks. Forming a cornerstone in what should be an imposing defensive corps for the Terriers this season, look for the third-round pick of the Calgary Flames third-round pick to continue to be a difference maker once again for the Terriers.
- Conor Ryan
Jack Eichel was the standout player in Boston University's offense last year, but Danny O'Regan put up 23 goals and 50 points himself. I think O'Regan, now a senior and the Terriers' top returning scorer, will shine and put up some big numbers again.
- Joshua Kummins
Editor's Note: SB Nation College Hockey's staff will be compiling its own Hockey East season preview and preseason rankings next week.