Top 10 NHL Players Who Started Their Careers in College

Explore the incredible journeys of the Top 10 NHL Players Who Started Their Careers in College. Delve into their college careers and discover how they contributed significantly to professional ice hockey.

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Jonathan Toews (University of North Dakota)

Jonathan Toews’ unique path began at the elite University of North Dakota. He displayed unparalleled dedication and perseverance on the ice for two seasons before his selection by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2006 draft. From that moment onward, Toews’ status as a legendary figure in the history of ice hockey was firmly established.

Duncan Keith (Michigan State University)

Duncan Keith, an eminent individual who significantly impacted the Blackhawks’ triumph, initiated his hockey profession at Michigan State University, a distinguished institution acclaimed for its academic eminence. He has firmly established himself as a star defenseman, exhibiting unparalleled prowess and proficiency, garnering immense recognition and honors, including the prestigious Norris Trophy and the esteemed NHL First All-Star Team. The invaluable contributions that Keith has made to the Blackhawks are priceless and irreplaceable.

Zach Parise (University of North Dakota)

Zach Parise began his journey at the famous University of North Dakota, where he was rewarded with the coveted title of NCAA All-American in 2004. Parise’s immense skill and unrelenting determination opened the way for a prosperous NHL career. Parise’s tenacity and skill as a top-tier scorer have consistently propelled him to the forefront of the sport’s most elite competitors throughout his illustrious career in the league, culminating in his well-deserved representation of the United States at the pinnacle of international hockey competition.

Joe Pavelski (University of Wisconsin)

Joe Pavelski’s illustrious ice hockey career commenced at the distinguished University of Wisconsin before his induction into the professional ranks of the San Jose Sharks in the year 2006. Throughout his distinguished vocation, Pavelski has garnered a reputation as an impeccable artiste who performs with ease under duress and is renowned for his ability to notch a plethora of game-winning goals consistently.

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Phil Kessel (University of Minnesota)

Phil Kessel, a proficient athlete who achieved renown through his prodigious aptitude and talent, sharpened his skills while performing at the University of Minnesota’s arena. He demonstrated his exceptional capabilities before being drafted by the prestigious Boston Bruins in 2006.

Jack Eichel (Boston University)

Jack Eichel’s professional trajectory can be retraced back to his days at Boston University, during which he displayed virtuosity and claimed the coveted Hobey Baker Award, denoting him as the preeminent collegiate player nationwide. Following this, the Buffalo Sabres procured Eichel via the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. He has since risen through the ranks to emerge as one of the league’s foremost and dynamic forwards, boasting an impressive fusion of rapidity and skill that he consistently showcases on the ice.

Johnny Gaudreau (Boston College)

Johnny Gaudreau’s rapid ascension began at Boston College, where he garnered acclaim by clinching the coveted Hobey Baker Award in 2014. Gaudreau’s capacity for facilitating plays is unparalleled, evident from his repeated appearances at the All-Star games. Gaudreau’s swift elevation to the upper echelons of professional ice hockey is indisputably attributable to his unwavering perseverance and innate aptitude, enabling him to carve out a niche for himself in the fiercely cutthroat world of sports.

Torey Krug (Michigan State University)

An esteemed ice hockey athlete, Torey Krug commenced his career at the prestigious Michigan State University without being chosen in the draft. Subsequently, he inked a deal with the Boston Bruins as an unrestricted free agent. Krug’s proficiency was rapidly established, leading him to emerge as one of the top-tier offensive defensemen in the National Hockey League (NHL). This feat played a pivotal role in the Bruins’ remarkable triumphs.

Adam Fox (Harvard University)

Adam Fox, a defenseman for the New York Rangers, has exhibited unparalleled prowess on the ice, which he refined during his tenure at the esteemed Harvard University. His contributions to the team have been exceptional, and his efforts have not gone unnoticed by the National Hockey League (NHL) community. His matchless performance on the rink resulted in his acquisition of the highly coveted Norris Trophy in 2021.

Cale Makar (University of Massachusetts)

Cale Makar is an emerging ice hockey talent who donned the University of Massachusetts jersey during his formative years and accomplished the distinguished Hobey Baker Award in 2019. Consequently, the Colorado Avalanche enlisted the services of this prodigious youth, and he has since cemented his place as one of the NHL’s most impressive defenders. His on-ice aptitude and acumen were promptly recognized, as he earned the coveted Calder Memorial Trophy in 2020, thus affirming his status as the league’s preeminent rookie.


By significantly impacting the ice, the Top 10 NHL Players Who Started Their Careers in College have effectively proved the value of a strong college hockey foundation. Their outstanding undergraduate achievements have been smoothly converted into unprecedented professional careers, leaving an unforgettable mark on the NHL. As a result, these players have acted as a source of inspiration for prospective college players, encouraging emulation and a strong desire to follow in their footsteps.

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