Eichel (USHL, NCAA) and Ovechkin’s (Europe) paths to the NHL didn’t include Major Junior Hockey.
Geoff Burke / USA TODAY Sports
NHL Prospects

Different roads to the NHL – how the old ways have changed

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The amalgamation of NCAA and European players into the NHL is all but complete. Whereas these constituencies made up relatively little of the NHL 30 years ago, they now combine to make up around 50 percent, with the NCAA at 30 percent. Which means, of course, that players who developed in Canada’s Major Junior system now comprise only half the league.

You would think this would end the debate over which development system is “the best.” Yet, it persists.

Of course, this is an age-old debate, and this is not meant to solve that debate. Rather, the answer I prefer to provide right now is that, no system is necessarily the best — different methods may work better for some players versus others.

It’s the continued insistence in some circles of “obvious” Major Junior superiority that should ran

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