Over the last decade, NCAA hockey has become a top choice development path for hockey players to take to the NHL.
A record of over 300 former college players skated in the NHL in 2016-17, accounted for 32% of the league increased from just 20% at the turn of the century.
This significant growth represents a change in how both players and teams are perceived and utilizing the NCAA as a pathway to get to the NHL. For teams, they can grant a promise but somewhat each player who is wishing to head to the NCAA receiving up to four years of essentially free growth. For players, they can learn to got degree and master their game before reaching the AHL or NHL with a physical and maturity level of advantages over their counterparts. Given its advantages, it’s no surprise that so many players from all over the global prefer utilizing the NCAA as their route to become professional hockey players.
The Frozen Four is not only the NCAA championship game, but also the stage for many future NHL players to show off their excellent skills.
There are countless number of former NCAA players currently in the NHL, but here are a few honorable mention just to give you an idea of how impactful the league has been over the last few years. They are Jack Eichel, Jonathan Toews, Nick Bjugstad, Johnny Gaudreau and Duncan Keith. This impressive list of alumni is growing, proving that the future of hockey in the NCAA is bright than ever, with both players and the NHL loving the results.
The American Hockey League is considered as the last stop for a developing talent before being call-up by an NHL.
Oftentimes, NHL teams will make the decision whether or not a prospect is ready for the big leagues after they have competed in a certain amount of international play or within a North American league. This allows many AHL teams to become host to some of the most talented young players of the world who are dreaming of breaking into the NHL.