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NCAA alums populate Pens' roster. Could that be the Sabres' future?

With the NHL Draft a month away on June 23, how might new Buffalo Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill go about picking his prospects?

A look at the Pittsburgh Penguins roster shows Botterill might really like players with college hockey experience.

The Penguins have the highest percentage of individual games played by college alums in NHL history according to College Hockey Inc. This season, 60 percent of the individual games played by the Penguins were by players with an NCAA background. That percentage jumped to 65 percent in the playoffs.

Pittsburgh's 2016 Stanley Cup Champion team ranked third with 53 percent of their individual games played by NCAA alumni.

Graphic courtesy of College Hockey Inc.

Pittsburgh players from this season with NCAA connections include former Sabre Chad Ruhwedel (UMass Lowell, 2010-13) along with Justin Schultz (Wisconsin, 2009-12), Matt Cullen (St. Cloud State 1995-97), Brian Dumoulin (Boston College, 2009-12), Nick Bonino (Boston University 2007-10), Chris Kunitz (Ferris State, 1999-2003), Bryan Rust (Notre Dame, 2010-14), Scott Wilson (UMass-Lowell, 2011-14), Ian Cole (Notre Dame, 2007-10), Carter Rowney (North Dakota, 2009-13), Conor Sheary (Massachusetts, 2010-14), Jake Guentzel (Nebraska-Omaha, 2013-16), Carl Hagelin (Michigan, 2007-11), Ron Hainsey (UMass-Lowell, 1999-2001) and Phil Kessel (Minnesota, 2006-07).

Botterill came to Buffalo after serving as the associate general manager with the Penguins and is a former college hockey player himself. He played four years at Michigan from 1993-97.

Sabres get 'No. 1 pick' in Botterill, Penguins' GM says

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