The growth of NCAA alumni in the NHL reached new heights this season, as a record 327 players, comprising 32.6% of the league, played in the NHL in the 2018-19 regular season and playoffs.
The 327 former college players in the NHL shattered the previous record of 314 (2016-17) and mark a 5.5% increase from last season. The former college players in the NHL include:
- Even higher rates of players making their NHL debuts (35.4%) and NHL rookies (33.6%)
- 80% of all Americans in the league
- 56% of all undrafted players in the league
- 28 goaltenders, matching the single-season record set last year
- 15 players who debuted after the completion of their NCAA hockey seasons
The number of NCAA alumni in the NHL has grown 55% in the last 15 years, both in terms of total number (211 in 2002-03) and percentage of all NHL players (21.1% in 2002-03).
Forty-nine of the 60 NCAA Division I schools had an alum playing in the NHL in 2018-19. Boston College and Minnesota led all schools with 22 alumni in the NHL, followed by Michigan (21), North Dakota (21) and Boston University (20). Arizona State had its first alumnus reach the NHL (Joey Daccord, Ottawa Senators).
Eleven NCAA alumni led their NHL teams in goals and/or points, led by former Hobey Baker Award-winner Johnny Gaudreau, whose 36 goals and 99 points paced the Western Conference-leading Calgary Flames. Other highlights included:
- Maine alum Ben Bishop, whose .934 save percentage for the Dallas Stars led all NHL goaltenders
- Minnesota alum Blake Wheeler, who ranked third in the NHL with 71 assists and matched his career high with 91 points
- 40-goal scorers Cam Atkinson (41, Boston College) and Jake Guentzel (40, Omaha), the first pair of NCAA alumni to score 40 goals in the same season since Zach Parise (45, North Dakota) and Thomas Vanek (40, Minnesota) in 2008-09
The vast majority (70%) of the 327 former college players in the NHL played at least three seasons on campus. Men’s hockey enjoys a 90% graduation rate, among the best NCAA Division I men’s sports according to the NCAA.