There shouldn't be too much suspense when 2015 Preseason Media All-ECAC Hockey First Team is announced next week by Ken Schott of the Schenectady Daily Gazette.
Headlining the group is the reigning ECAC Hockey Player of the Year. The league received a huge boost when Harvard forward and Nashville Predators pick Jimmy Vesey announced he was returning for his senior season with the Crimson.
Here's this writer's ballot, submitted to Ken Schott for the 2015 Preseason All-ECAC Hockey First Team.
Jimmy Vesey, Sr., Forward, Harvard (Nashville Predators)
The returning ECAC Hockey Player of the Year and Hobey Baker Hat Trick Finalist has to be one of the leading candidates to win college hockey's top individual award in 2016. Vesey is a big, power forward who can shoot and dish the puck. He's strong on the puck and willing to go into the scoring areas without fear. His skating has improved tremendously and he'll once again be an integral part of what should be a very good Crimson squad.
Mike Vecchione, Jr., Forward, Union
He's a no-brainer to be selected here for his brilliant two-way play. He's no slouch offensively, but when you watch him closely, you realize what a complete player he is. He does a good job on face-offs and does a lot of little things away from the puck. There was some speculation he might leave school early, but he announced he'd return to the delight of Dutchmen fans.
Sam Anas, Jr., Forward, Quinnipiac
The Potomac, Md. native is the Bobcats top returning scorer. The undersized left wing is a crafty goal scorer with terrific hand-eye coordination. He is an efficient skater with good speed, but not elite. What sets him apart is his hands and ability to make things happen with his stick skills. Nine of his 23 goals in 2014-15 came on the man advantage.
Rob O'Gara, Sr., Defense, Yale (Boston Bruins)
It seems like the Milton Academy alum has been patrolling the blue line in ECAC Hockey forever, but he's back for one more go-around. He's a big stay-at-home defenseman who had a team-leading +15 plus/minus last season. He'll be the center piece of what should be a very dominant Bulldog defense.
Eric Sweetman, Soph., Defense, St. Lawrence
He was a big part of the Saints improved record in 2014-15, and he will once again lead a defense that returns all but one starter. He's a smooth-skating, puck-moving defenseman that can make an impact in all three zones. His +21 was the best plus/minus of any defenseman in ECAC Hockey last season.
Alex Lyon, Jr., Goaltender, Yale
The Baudette, Minn. native had the best goals against average and top save percentage in the league last season. He'll likely be a workhorse once again for Keith Allain's squad that is picked to win the league by many preseason prognosticators.
Honorable Mention: Forwards Kyle Criscuolo, Alex Kerfoot, Darcy Murphy, Landon Smith; Defensemen Jeff Taylor, Jake Kulevich, Desmond Bergin; Goaltenders Kyle Hayton, Charlie Finn