Flyers

Flyers' Mike Vecchione beat out by Will Butcher for 2017 Hobey Baker Award

It's been a big week for Mike Vecchione.

After signing an entry-level contract with the Flyers last Friday and making his NHL debut Tuesday in New Jersey, Vecchione finished the week in Chicago on Friday night as one of the three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, college hockey's highest individual honor. 

But the Union College product came up shy of coming back to Philadelphia with the award, as Denver University defenseman Will Butcher won the 2017 Hobey Baker Award.

Vecchione was the first Union player to make the top three finalists. Shayne Gostisbehere, who was Vecchione's teammate during his freshman season, was a top-10 finalist three years ago when the two won a national championship at the Frozen Four in Philadelphia.

Vecchione was the ECAC Player of the Year in 2016-17 after leading Union College with 29 goals. His 1.66 points per game average was tied with Northeastern forward Zach Aston-Reese for highest average in the NCAA. He is the Dutchmen's all-time leading scorer with 175 points and also holds the school's assist record with 104.

Aston-Reese was the other Hobey Baker finalist.

Earlier this week, Vecchione, Gostisbehere and Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid were part of an NHL-first at Prudential Center -- three players from Union College participating in an NHL game simultaneously. 

Vecchione left for Chicago on Thursday night. He will rejoin the Flyers sometime on Saturday, but coach Dave Hakstol said he won't be in the lineup because of the travel issues involved with the Hobey Baker ceremonies.
 
The Flyers have a rare 12:30 p.m. start against Columbus on Saturday. Instead, Vecchione will play in Sunday's season finale against Carolina.

CSNPhilly.com's Tom Dougherty contributed to this report.