Patrick McNally Nominated for (but unlikely to win) ECAC Rookie of the Year

Thomas Drance
March 12 2012 12:53PM


Patrick McNally has been recognized by the ECAC for his impressive rookie season.

Canucks prospect Patrick McNally (drafted in the 4th round of the 2010 NHL draft), has  followed up on his Yandle-esque senior year of Prep hockey with a stellar freshman campaign for the Harvard Crimson this season. Jeff Angus looked at his development a few months ago, and generally speaking McNally has successfully reigned in his freelancing style, while remaining a standout offensive defenseman.

Late last week, McNally's play was recognized by the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) who nominated him as one of three finalists for the conference's "Rookie of the Year" award. Read past the jump for analysis of his chances at winning the award.

Here's a list of Mcnally's frosh accomplishments from ECAChockey.com:

Harvard freshman, Patrick McNally is another finalist for the league’s top rookie award. McNally tied for fifth among rookie scorers in ECAC Hockey play netting 0.68 points per game (4g-11a-15pts). He was ECAC Hockey’s highest-scoring freshman defenseman in league games. The Glen Head, N.Y. native tied for fourth in the ECAC Hockey scoring among all defensemen. In overall contests McNally is the nation’s second-leading scorer among freshman defensemen with 0.76 points per game (5-17-22). McNally helped Harvard hold 15 of its final 16 league opponents to three goals or fewer and limit eight of the final 13 to two goals or fewer and rank fourth in ECAC Hockey in scoring defense. He was also a key player on league’s top power-play, which ranks second nationally and led the nation for most of the regular-season.

That's an awful lot more impressive than my list of freshman accomplishments, which, included but were not limited too: refining my awful taste in women, setting a conference record for skipped classes, vomiting in several back alleys, discovering Mogwai and Dostoevsky, and being busted for smoking in my room on several occasions. College is fun.

While McNally's freshman season has been impressive, and his potential is tantalizing, he'll likely have to settle for "it's an honour just being nominated" status. Our buddy and College Hockey aficionado Ryan Lambert explains:

The reason I'd be shocked if Patrick McNally wins the ECAC Rookie of the Year award is simple: If you think the NHL media bases its awards solely on statistics, wait until you see the people in college hockey. You also need to keep in mind that conference awards like these are based only on in-conference games.

And that is the reason McNally won't win: He "only" put up 4-11-15 in 22 games from the blue line. That's five behind Quinnipiac's Matthew Peca in the same number of games, and not an appreciable enough lead over the other D in the conference (Union's Shayne Gostibehere and Colgate's Spiro Goulakos, both of whom had 14 in 22 and considerably cooler names).

None of this is to say McNally isn't a good defenseman who has all the look of possibly developing into a very strong quarterback on the power play. But Is he the rookie of the year in his league? Probably not.

Fortunately for Vancouver — and I'm sure you might have guessed at this — these awards mean absolutely nothing. For instance, Cory Schneider lost the Hockey East Rookie of the Year award to a goaltender named Peter Vetri in 2004-05. Vetri is currently playing in the FHL, which I don't know what that is.

So forget the superficial awards: that McNally's rookie season of division I NCAA hockey has been this productive is great news for the Canucks. Patrick McNally is still a few years away from contributing at the professional level, and one assumes he'll finish his degree before joining the Canucks or their AHL affiliate - I mean, he does attend Harvard. But the team can afford to wait, with the emergence of the likes of Tanev, Gragnani, Sauve, Connauton, Corrado and McNally this season; the Canucks suddenly find themselves boasting an impressive pool of young blueliners.

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Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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