After the 2018 NHL Draft featured an 11-year high for current and future NCAA players selected, NHL Central Scouting is projecting another banner year for the college ranks in 2019.
The organization’s “Players to Watch” list for the 2019 NHL Draft, released Monday, includes 104 players who are committed to Division I schools or playing in NCAA-eligible junior leagues.
Leading the way are eight players with an “A” rating as first-round candidates. They include three players committed to Boston College and two each to Boston University and Wisconsin.
In all, 28 schools have recruits listed, nearly half of the 60 schools in Division I. Boston College, Boston University and Minnesota have eight commits each on the watch list.
Twenty of the prospects listed have not committed to a school but are playing in an NCAA-eligible junior or high school league.
The USHL leads all junior leagues in the world with 52 players named to the watch list, including 19 who play for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program.
Five NCAA freshmen are among those included on the watch list: Minnesota’s Ben Brinkman (Edina, Minn./Edina HS), Boston College’s Patrick Giles (Chevy Chase, Md./U.S. NTDP) and Adam Samuelsson (San Diego, Calif./U.S. NTDP) and Denver’s Brendan Budy (Langley, B.C./Langley-BCHL) and Sean Comrie (Edmonton, Alta./Spruce Grove-AJHL).