According to College Hockey Inc., 325 of the 906 players (35.9 percent) who skated in the NHL last season played NCAA hockey, up from 20 percent in 2000.
Forwards Johnny Gaudreau (Boston College) of the Calgary Flames and Blake Wheeler (University of Minnesota) of the Winnipeg Jets finished among the Top 20 in NHL scoring last season.
Rookie forwards Brady Tkachuk (Boston University) of the Ottawa Senators, Ryan Donato (Harvard) and Jordan Greenway (Boston University) of the Minnesota Wild and Casey Middlestadt (Minnesota) of the Buffalo Sabres are emerging as future stars.
Defenseman Cale Makar went straight from the University of Massachusetts, where he won the 2019 Hobey Baker Award as the best player in Division I hockey, to the Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Colorado Avalanche.
With the college hockey season set to start, here are 10 drafted sophomores, juniors and seniors to watch:
Scott Perunovich, D, University of Minnesota-Duluth
Drafted in second round (No. 45) by the St. Louis Blues in the 2018 NHL Draft, the 21-year-old has combined for 65 points (14 goals, 51 assists) in the past two seasons, helping UMD win two straight NCAA championships. The junior (5-foot-9, 172) is back to make a run at a third straight national title. Expect him to be a strong contender for the Hobey Baker Award.
David Cotton, C, Boston College
Drafted in sixth round (No. 169) by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2015 NHL Draft, the senior has soft hands and NHL size (6-2, 200). The 22-year-old, who served as Eagles captain, was more comfortable driving the net last season and it paid off with 36 points (23 goals, 13 assists) in 39 games.
Wade Allison, F, Western Michigan University
Drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round (No. 52) of the 2016 NHL Draft, the senior, who turns 22 on Oct. 14, was limited to 22 games in each of the past two seasons because of a knee injury, which likely delayed his arrival with the Flyers. When healthy, Allison (6-2, 205) goes to the net and has a good finishing touch.
Tyler Madden, C, Northeastern
The son of three-time Stanley Cup winner John Madden was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in the third round (No. 68) in 2018 and was a pleasant surprise as a freshman. Madden (5-11, 152) had four points (three goals, one assist) in seven games for the United States in the 2019 World Junior Championship and the 19-year-old who has elite skating speed had 28 points (12 goals, 16 assists) in 36 games for Northeastern.
Jack Dugan, F, Providence College
Drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights in the fifth round (No. 142) in the 2017 NHL Draft, the 21-year-old had 39 points (10 goals, 29 assists) in 41 games as a freshman while playing on the top line for a Frozen Four team last season. He has good size (6- 2, 185) and passes the puck extremely well.
K'Andre Miller, D, University of Wisconsin
Miller, a graduate of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, was drafted by the New York Rangers in the first round (No. 22) of the 2018 draft. The 19-year-old is big (6-5, 210) and strong and a great skater. After scoring 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) as a freshman, he figures to be one of the top defensemen in the country and should play for the United States at the World Junior tournament for the second time.
Morgan Barron, F, Cornell University
The second-leading returning scorer in the ECAC, the sophomore (6-4, 220) had 34 points (15 goals, 19 assists) in 36 games in 2018-19. The 21-year-old, drafted by the Rangers in the sixth round (No. 174) of the 2017 draft, projects as a well-rounded, bottom-six player.
Dylan Samberg, D, University of Minnesota-Duluth
Samberg had a strong freshman season, playing in the top four for the NCAA champion. Drafted by Winnipeg Jets in the second round (No. 43) of the 2017 draft, the 20-year-old (6-3, 190) had 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in 39 games last season.
Ian Mitchell, D, University of Denver
Drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round (No. 57) of the 2017 draft, the sophomore's offensive instincts and vision are the qualities that set him apart. The 20-year-old (5-11, 173) was one of only two NCAA players to skate for Canada in the 2019 World Junior Championship (Boston University's Shane Bowers was the other).
Jacob Bernard-Docker, D, University of North Dakota
Drafted by Ottawa in the first round (No. 26) of the 2018 draft, the 19-year-old won't bring you out of your seat with dynamic plays, but the sophomore is a smooth skater who distributes the puck well and has a very good shot. Bernard-Docker (6-0, 180) had up 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 36 games last season.