This is not a post meant to compare the numbers by league in order to pronounce one superior to others. What follows is simply a celebration of the diverse paths players can take on their way to achieving their dream of perhaps one day playing in the NHL.
Looking strictly at North America, you would expect that the three leagues under the umbrella of the CHL would once again lead the way at the draft. That assumption would hold true once again as 99 major junior players were snapped up by NHL teams.
The Ontario Hockey League produced 48 draftees, the Western Hockey League had 32 and the QMJHL 19.
More than half of this year's first round selections, 18, were from CHL clubs. The OHL had the most first rounders with 11 but the WHL can brag that 5 of the top 8 players taken in the draft came from the Western loop.
It wasn't a great year for the Quebec Major Junior League with only one first rounder and just 6 in the top 100 but, considering the success of 2011 and the expected quality in 2013, there doesn't appear to be anything to worry about in the Q.
The only NHL team that did not choose a CHL player was the New York Rangers who made just 4 selections on the weekend.
The United States Hockey League has to be thrilled with the draft this year. The 6 first rounders was second only to the number chosen from the OHL. The league can lay claim to 28 draftees that made an appearance in the USHL this year including 4 players like Boo Nieves who played late in the year after his prep school season had ended.
Interesting side bar for the USHL, because the league sees players move from its ranks to the NCAA and the CHL, there are a 11 "alum" players who were taken this year that played during the 2010-11 season. Guys like Henrik Samuelsson (PHX), Daniil Zharkov (EDM) and Logan Nelson (Buf) were plucked from the CHL while Jake McCabe (BUF), John McCarron (EDM) and Austin Wuthrich (WSH) were grabbed from the NCAA.
The tier 1 Junior leagues across Canada accounted for 13 draft picks. The BCHL was on top as usual with 5, the AJHL came next with 4, the OJHL had 3 and the CCHL rounds out the list with 1.
The top selection from the CJHL was Devin Shore (DAL) from Whitby in the OJHL who was the last player taken in round 2, 61st overall. Prince George's Jujhar Khaira (EDM) soon followed as did defenceman Colton Parayko (STL).
AJHL MVP Peter Quenneville was surprisingly not selected.
20 high school players heard their names called during the weekend, the highest being first round stunner Mark Jankowski (CGY). Minnesota and Massachusetts had the most high school draftees. (Note: NHL.com lists players like Nieves in this category as opposed to the USHL.)
Most collegians get to school having already been drafted while playing junior in the USHL or the CJHL. There were 10 guys this year who do not fall into that category including Phil Di Giuseppe (CAR) of the Michigan Wolverines. The Canadian World Junior camp invite was taken by the Hurricanes with the 8th pick of the 2nd round.
Undersized offensive blueliner Joey Laleggia (EDM) went undrafted twice but his near point-per-game freshman campaign with the Denver Pioneers earned him the honor this year.
College Hockey Inc. has a terrific resource that summarizes the day for current and future college draftees. 27 of 30 NHL teams drafted at least one player who is in, or is expect to join, a NCAA program.
Goalies Anthony Stolarz (PHI) and Connor Hellebuyck (WPG) were the only two players chosen from the NAHL. The lone EJHL contribution was Jimmy Vesey (NSH).
Totals By League:
CHL (99): OHL (48), WHL (32), QMJHL (19)
High School (20): Minn (8), Mass (6), New Hamp (3), Conn (1) Mich (1) Que (1)
CJHL (13): BCHL (5), AJHL (4), OJHL (3), CCHL (1)
NCAA (10): WCHA (4), ECAC (3), CCHA (2), H-East (1)