Top drafted NCAA players

Updated: March 21, 2012, 3:36 PM ET
By Corey Pronman

A few weeks ago I ranked the drafted prospects playing overseas. This week, leading up to the NCAA hockey tournament, I will rank the top drafted college hockey prospects. I will consider for this list players like Jaden Schwartz who ended the college season with his team but not Minnesota Wild top prospect Charlie Coyle who left midyear.

These rankings are based on notes gathered from my own observations of the players and the many conversations I've had with scouts and front office executives. But the rankings are purely my own. It is also worth noting that beyond the 10th spot the differences were very minimal between prospects.

1. Justin Schultz, D, Anaheim Ducks (Wisconsin-WCHA)
There's a reason there's a lot of hype surrounding the possibility of Schultz going to free agency. If he doesn't sign with Anaheim, he would be the best college free agent to hit the market that I could remember. Schultz is a high-end thinker with a great overall skill set and can dominate at both ends. When I asked a scout if he physically was ready for the pro game, he praised his off-ice work. "He has very, very good stamina," the scout said. Schultz is NHL-ready and has top pairing potential.