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Zach Pekale | | July 26, 2021

Colleges with the most NHL 1st-round draft picks, all time

UMass defeats St. Cloud State to claim the 2021 DI men's ice hockey national championship

Since the first NHL Draft in 1963, there have been 185 college hockey players drafted in the first round, representing five conferences and 28 Division I programs. Michigan leads the way with 30 first-rounders followed by Minnesota with 22.

The Wolverines' footprint is all over the NHL from veterans Max Pacioretty (Vegas Golden Knights) and Zach Werenski (Columbus Blue Jackets) to one of the game's more tantalizing prospects in Quinn Hughes (Vancouver Canucks). No school can claim more top-round representation than Michigan, which has produced 16.2 percent of all first-round picks in NHL history.

In 2021, the Wolverines became the first school since 1969 to have two teammates selected with the top two overall picks. The Buffalo Sabres picked Owen Power first, followed by the expansion team Seattle Kraken taking Matt Beniers second.

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In total, five programs have 20 or more first-round draftees.

Michigan 30
Minnesota 22
Boston College 21
Boston University 21
North Dakota 20
Wisconsin 17

When it comes to the first round, Michigan has a solid grip atop the record books. Minnesota trails with 22 apiece while Boston College, Boston University and North Dakota are right behind. Only one other school has cracked the double-digit mark through 58 years — Wisconsin. 

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Of these teams, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin all now play in the Big Ten. In other words, it's not hard to figure out which conference might have the most first-round picks. But, here's a breakdown of which leagues produce the most top-round talent in the NHL.

Big Ten 84
Hockey East 56

*Conference counts are by where teams play currently, not previously

And finally, the most heralded draft choice —  the No. 1 overall pick. Michigan's Owen Power was the first college player selected first overall in 15 years, by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2021 draft. He became just the fourth collegian to go No. 1 overall. Michigan State's Joe Murphy was the first in 1986. It'd be another 14 years before Boston University goalie Rick DiPietro was taken first overall. Then in 2006, Minnesota defender Erik Johnson was selected first by the St. Louis Blues.

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