Brian Flynn (F, Maine 20-16-36) What didn’t Brian Flynn do for Maine last season? The Black Bear scored a team-high 20 goals, netted four game winning goals, was a staple on Maine penalty kill, and won the Hockey East sportsmanship award. While it will be difficult for Flynn to improve on his already impressive numbers without assist man Gustav Nyquist; the senior certainly has the shot and scoring touch to do just that.
Chris Kreider (F, BC 11-13-24) Arguably the most talented player in the conference, Kreider has an intriguing combination of size and speed. The BC junior’s production has not lived up to the hype so far, but it is his raw ability that caused the Rangers to draft him 19th overall two years ago. Kreider should get a chance to play on both the Eagles first line and first power-play unit, so he has a real opportunity to be consistently dominant.
Joe Cannata (G, Merrimack .911, 2.48) While Cannata might not be the most talented player on this list, he may be the most valuable. If the Warriors are to repeat the success they had from a year ago, Cannata will need to be fantastic night-in and night-out. He is certainly capable of that, and if Merrimack has another top 4 finish look for him to get some votes for player of the year.
Charlie Coyle (F, BU 7-19-26) The 2010-2011 Hockey East Rookie of the Year started off with 14 points in his first 16 games before falling into a bit of a lull towards the end of the season. Coyle, a Sharks 2010 first round pick, skates well and has great vision on the ice. Alex Chiasson and Chris Connolly are other BU forwards who could be on this list, but of the three, Coyle has the most upside.
Matt Di Girolamo (G, UNH .923, 2.44) For the first time in a long time, UNH will not return a 30 point scorer. This means that Di Girolamo will be counted on to not only keep the Wildcats in games, but to steal some as well. The senior started every single game for New Hampshire last season, and despite the heavy workload put up numbers as good as any other goalie in the league.
Brian Dumoulin (D, BC 3-30-33) A defensemen has not won the Hockey East Player of the Year award since Mike Mottau in 2000, but that does not mean Dumoulin is not a legitimate candidate. It is not often the Hockey East Defensive Defenseman of the year also puts up over 30 points, but that is what the junior did last season. Dumoulin’s offensive game greatly improved last season, and if it gets better again he could be taking home a lot of hardware come March.