NHL Draft and NCAA Hockey
|Top College Draft Picks
No. 1 Overall
Erik Johnson, Minnesota (2006)
Rick DiPietro, Boston University (2000)
Joe Murphy, Michigan State (1986)
No. 2 Overall
James van Riemsdyk, New Hampshire (2007)
Dany Heatley, Wisconsin (2000)
Craig Simpson, Michigan State (1985)
No. 3 Overall
Kyle Turris, Wisconsin (2007)
Jonathan Toews, North Dakota (2006)
Jack Johnson, Michigan (2005)
No. 4 Overall
Paul Kariya, Maine (1993)
No. 5 Overall
Phil Kessel, Minnesota (2006)
Blake Wheeler, Minnesota (2004)
Thomas Vanek, Minnesota (2003)
Ryan Whitney, Boston University (2002)
Aaron Ward, Michigan (1991)
Bill Guerin, Boston College (1989)
The NHL Draft annually highlights some of the best young college players and incoming freshmen. More than 60 college or college-bound players have been selected in each of the last 13 NHL Drafts, with 62 selected in 2014.
Every NHL team has draft picks currently developing in the college ranks; in fact, five teams have 10 or more draftees in college. The average NHL team has more than a half-dozen of its selections playing NCAA hockey.
More than half of the 59 Division I programs (31) had a current or future player taken in the 2014 NHL Draft in Philadelphia, as all but two of the NHL's teams selected at least one NCAA player. Seven of the nine selections made by the Chicago Blackhawks are college-bound players.
Jacob Trouba, taken ninth overall in 2012, was the most recent top-10 selection among college players. Winnipeg made Trouba its first selection in the 2012 NHL Draft, and the Michigan recruit was the first of 68 current or future college players to be taken in the draft. After an impressive freshman season that saw him earn All-America honors, Trouba signed with the Jets and made an immediate impact at the NHL level.
The 2015 NHL Draft may have the strongest NCAA flavor in years. Two of the top three projected picks - Jack Eichel and Noah Hanifin - are currently playing NCAA hockey, as is another first-round candidate, Michigan's Zach Werenski. Four or five more future NCAA players are projected to be first-round picks.