A total of 300 former U.S. college hockey players participated in the 2011-12 NHL regular season, the biggest NCAA representation in history and a 39 percent increase from 10 years ago when 216 ex-collegians played in the NHL.
Former college players accounted for 30.5 percent of all players in the NHL this season, also a record, according to figures compiled and released by College Hockey Inc. Forty-six former college players made their NHL debuts this season, including seven who appeared after their college seasons concluded.
The 300 former college players who played in the NHL this season represented 45 colleges, led by Michigan (23), Wisconsin (22) and Boston College (21).
Among the former NCAA stars who played in the NHL this year were Brian Elliott (Wisconsin), who led the league’s goaltenders in goals against average and save percentage, and Jonathan Quick (Massachusetts), who led the league in shutouts.
Seven 30-goal scorers were among the group, as well as five of the top nine rookie scorers in the league, including rookie goal-scoring leader Matt Read (Bemidji State). Jonathan Toews (North Dakota) led the league in faceoff percentage and Curtis Glencross (Alaska-Anchorage) led in shooting percentage.
More than half of the NHLers who played college hockey spent all four years in school, with 74 percent staying at least three years on campus, while 84 of the former college players who reached the NHL this year were undrafted free agents.