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Hockey Factories: Which NCAA program has produced the most NHL talent in the post-lockout era?

After looking at which Canadian major junior organizations has the most NHL games played among its alumni, we dive into the college ranks to determine which NCAA team has sent the most talent to the big league.

As the United States continues to produce an increasing amount of the game’s top stars, the NCAA remains one of the go-to routes for American-born players – and a number of top Canadians and some Europeans, too. Made up of 60 teams and six conferences (as well as one independent team), the NCAA is the best it gets in the United States for developing NHL talent.

Following our look at which CHL organizations have developed the most NHL talent since the 2004-05 lockout, we’ll now take a look at which NCAA team's alumni have played the most NHL games since the lockout through the end of the 2018-19 season. If a player split time between multiple schools, the NHL games they’ve played will be split between those schools, as well. For example, if a player played 75 games at Boston College and 25 games at Michigan, Boston College will be credited with 75 per cent of the NHL games played and Michigan with 25 per cent.

All schools who have produced no NHL players since 2005 lockout (7)

Air Force Academy
American International College
Army West Point
Holy Cross
Robert Morris
Sacred Heart

T52. Arizona State: 1
Notable Alumni: Joey Daccord

T52. Mercyhurst: 1
Notable Alumni: Jamie Hunt

T50. Niagara:13
Notable Alumni: Matt Ryan

T50. Penn State: 13
Notable Alumni:Casey Bailey

49. Connecticut: 112
Notable Alumni: Tage Thompson

48. Quinnipiac: 138
Notable Alumni:Devon Toews

47. Ferris State: 167
Notable Alumni:Zach Redmond

46. Canisius: 189
Notable Alumni:Cory Conacher

45. Merrimack: 195
Notable Alumni: Matt Foy

44. Alabama-Huntsville: 301
Notable Alumni: Cam Talbot

43. Lake Superior State: 312
Notable Alumni:Derek Smith

42. Rensselaer: 317
Notable Alumni: Brandon Pirri

41. R.I.T.: 481
Notable Alumni:Chris Tanev

40. Yale: 500
Notable Alumni: Mark Arcobello, John Hayden

39. Northern Michigan: 661
Notable Alumni: Erik Gustafsson,Mike Santorelli

38. Colgate: 690
Notable Alumni: Chris Wagner, Jesse Winchester

37. Bemidji State: 795
Notable Alumni: Brad Hunt, Matt Read

36. Union: 797
Notable Alumni: Shayne Gostisbehere, Keith Kinkaid

35. Alaska-Fairbanks: 822
Notable Alumni:Chad Johnson, Colton Parayko

34. St. Lawrence: 831
Notable Alumni: Brandon Bollig, Rich Peverley

33. Brown: 863
Notable Alumni: Ryan Garbutt, Garnet Hathaway

32. Clarkson: 868
Notable Alumni: Mark Borowiecki, Kent Huskins

31. Michigan Tech: 883
Notable Alumni:Jujhar Khaira, John Scott

30. Massachusetts-Lowell: 1,025
Notable Alumni: Christian Folin, Connor Hellebuyck, Carter Hutton

29. Alaska-Anchorage: 1,048
Notable Alumni:Jay Beagle, Curtis Glencross

28. Bowling Green: 1,145
Notable Alumni:Kevin Bieksa, Ryan Carpenter

27. Princeton: 1,244
Notable Alumni: Mike Condon, Taylor Fedun, George Parros

26. Harvard: 1,408
Notable Alumni: Alex Kerfoot,Alex Killorn, Jimmy Vesey

25. Northeastern: 1,424
Notable Alumni:Josh Manson, Jamie Oleksiak, Joe Vitale

24. Providence: 1,525
Notable Alumni: Mark Jankowski, Tim Schaller, Brandon Tanev

23. Nebraska-Omaha: 1,591
Notable Alumni: Jake Guentzel, Andrej Sustr, Greg Zanon

22. Vermont: 1,600
Notable Alumni:Kevan Miller, Torrey Mitchell, Viktor Stalberg

21. St. Cloud State: 1,827
Notable Alumni: Dennis Cholowski, Matt Hendricks, Nick Jensen

20. Minnesota State: 1,866
Notable Alumni: Ryan Carter, David Backes, Tyler Pitlick

19. Western Michigan: 2,261
Notable Alumni: Kevin Connauton, Danny Dekeyser, Mark Letestu

18. Massachusetts: 2,374
Notable Alumni: Justin Braun, Brandon Montour, Jonathan Quick

17. New Hampshire: 2,525
Notable Alumni: Brett Pesce, James van Riemsdyk, Daniel Winnik

16. Ohio State: 2,663
Notable Alumni: Ryan Dzingel, David Steckel, R.J. Umberger

15. Cornell: 2,682
Notable Alumni: Matt Moulson, Douglas Murray, Riley Nash

14. Colorado College: 2,787
Notable Alumni: Curtis McElhinney, Jaden Schwartz, Jaccob Slavin, Mark Stuart

13. Dartmouth: 2,828
Notable Alumni:Tanner Glass, David Jones, Lee Stempniak

12. Notre Dame: 3,643
Notable Alumni: Ian Cole,Anders Lee, Kyle Palmieri, Riley Sheahan

11. Miami: 3,742
Notable Alumni: Andy Greene, Alec Martinez, Reilly Smith, Tommy Wingels


10. Maine: 4,041
Notable Alumni: Ben Bishop,Jimmy Howard, Gustav Nyquist, Dustin Penner, Teddy Purcell

Maine hasn’t shared the same success as others featured in the top 10, failing to reach the Frozen Four since 2007 and without an NCAA crown since 1999. They have, however, developed several players who made and continue to make an impact in the NHL. Ben Bishop was a Vezina Trophy finalist last season with the Dallas Stars, Jimmy Howard remains a starter with the Detroit Red Wings and Gustav Nyquist inked four-year deal in the offseason with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

9. Minnesota-Duluth: 4,098
Notable Alumni: J.T. Brown,Jason Garrison, Justin Faulk,Matt Niskanen, Mason Raymond

Winners of back-to-back national championships, Minnesota-Duluth has been the best it gets in the NCAA. Perhaps the two most notable names the Bulldogs have produced since the lockout are defensemen Justin Faulk and Matt Niskanen. And there are another pair of defensemen, Scott Perunovich and Dylan Samberg, on the way. For now, they’ll be looking to complete the three-peat.

8. Denver: 4,952
Notable Alumni: Tyler Bozak, Will Butcher, Matt Carle, Paul Stastny, Jason Zucker

Denver has produced multiple top-six forwards, including Tyler Bozak, Paul Stastny and Jason Zucker. Defenseman Will Butcher also made his mark with Denver while becoming a highly sought-after free agent ahead of the 2017-18 NHL season. The school’s most recent NCAA Championships came in 2005 and 2017, while they haven’t missed the NCAA tournament since 2007.

7. Michigan State: 5,314
Notable Alumni: Justin Abdelkader, David Booth, Duncan Keith, Drew Miller, Jeff Petry, Jim Slater, Torey Krug

Though Michigan State hasn’t necessarily produced a ton of NHL stars, they’ve developed serviceable players who have been able to carve out spots in the league. Justin Abdelkader, David Booth, Drew Miller, Jim Slater and Jeff Petry all surpassed the 500-game mark, while defenseman Torey Krug remains a key part of the Boston Bruins blue line and blueliner Duncan Keith is a three-time Stanley Cup Champion and Conn Smythe winner.

6. Boston University: 5,969
Notable Alumni: Nick Bonino, Charlie Coyle, Jack Eichel, Clayton Keller, Charlie McAvoy, Matt Nieto, Kevin Shattenkirk, Brady Tkachuk, Ryan Whitney, Colin Wilson

Boston University may not rank ahead of rival Boston College on this list, but the Terriers have sent some big names onto NHL success, including youngsters Clayton Keller, Charlie McAvoy and Brady Tkachuk. Meanwhile, Jack Eichel, who registered 71 points in 40 games as an 18-year-old with the school, is already the captain of the Buffalo Sabres.

5. Boston College: 8,128
Notable Alumni: Cam Atkinson, Brian Boyle, Brian Dumoulin, Patrick Eaves, Johnny Gaudreau, Noah Hanifin, Kevin Hayes, Chris Kreider, Cory Schneider, Alex Tuch

There’s certainly a gap between the top-five NCAA teams and the rest of the pack, each producing players with a total of more than 8,000 NHL games since the lockout. Every other team is below the 6,000-game mark. And it’s no surprise to see three-time national champion Boston College in a top-five spot.

The school’s most recent all-star alumnus is Johnny Gaudreau, who attended Boston College for three years and registered 80 points in 40 games in his final season before heading to the Flames. Former Boston College defenseman and 2015 fifth-overall pick Noah Hanifin is Gaudreau’s teammate in Calgary.

4. North Dakota: 8,724
Notable Alumni: Brock Boeser, Drake Caggiula, Tyson Jost,Matt Greene, Brock Nelson, T.J. Oshie, Zach Parise, Nick Schmaltz, Drew Stafford, Jonathan Toews, Travis Zajac

North Dakota has had one of the most successful NCAA programs since the lockout year, reaching the Frozen Four eight times in that span. Their 2016 Championship team was led by Brock Boeser, Drake Caggiula and Nick Schmaltz, who combined for 157 points that season. Their ability to develop top NHL talent does go back further, though, as T.J. Oshie, Zach Parise and Jonathan Toews all came from the school, as well.

3. Minnesota: 8,954
Notable Alumni: Keith Ballard, Nick Bjugstad, Alex Goligoski,Erik Haula, Erik Johnson, Phil Kessel, Nick Leddy, Kyle Okposo, Nate Schmidt, Brady Skjei, Tomas Vanek, Blake Wheeler

The State of Hockey may be home to multiple NCAA programs, but the University of Minnesota is ahead of the pack when it comes to NHL alumni. Among those to wear a Golden Gophers jersey are Erik Johnson, Phil Kessel and Blake Wheeler, all of whom were top-five NHL draft picks between 2004 and 2006. Minnesota is consistently a competitive team in the NCAA, but they haven’t been able to take home an NCAA title since their back-to-back wins in 2002 and 2003.

2. Michigan: 9,776
Notable Alumni: Andrew Cogliano, J.T. Compher, Andrew Copp, Carl Hagelin, Zach Hyman, Jack Johnson, Dylan Larkin, Eric Nystrom, Max Pacioretty, Jacob Trouba, Zach Werenski

In the last half-decade, Michigan has been one of top teams in terms of producing NHL talent. The likes of Kyle Connor, Quinn Hughes, Dylan Larkin, Jacob Trouba and Zach Werenski all suited up for the Wolverines.

Despite the caliber of players they’ve produced, however, Michigan hasn’t been able to capture an NCAA Championship since the NHL’s lockout year. They’ve appeared in the Frozen Four three times during that stretch.

1. Wisconsin: 10,372
Notable Alumni: Rene Bourque,Brian Elliott, Jake Gardiner, Tom Gilbert, Ryan McDonagh,Joe Pavelski, Justin Schultz, Craig Smith, Derek Stepan, Ryan Suter, Kyle Turris

Right around the time of the 2005 lockout, Wisconsin produced players that have gone on to be NHL captains, leaders and some of the best talent in the league. Former coach Mike Eaves, who spent 14 years with the program, helped to shape the likes of Ryan McDonagh, Joe Pavelski, Ryan Suter before they became the players we see today. Wisconsin has advanced to the Frozen Four twice since the lockout, including their NCAA Championship win in 2006. While they haven’t developed many stars in recent years, their impact in producing players a decade ago is still felt in the NHL today.

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