The NCAA tournament is not only an annual showcase of high-end college hockey. It also offers a glimpse of the talent of some terrific NHL prospects. The three days of intense hockey put these players in high-pressure situations, offering a great evaluation opportunity.
Although many of college hockey's blue bloods are not in the tournament this year, there is no shortage of high-end talent to watch when the puck drops Friday, starting with UMass vs. Harvard at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2 (full schedule here).
Here's a look at the top 25 NHL prospects to keep an eye on, as well as some honorable mentions and names to watch looking ahead to the 2019 NHL draft.
1. Cale Makar, D, UMass
NHL affiliation: Colorado Avalanche
Makar is the most exciting collegiate hockey talent still playing this season, and you'll see why in about three strides. He is tied for sixth in the country with 46 points and can control shifts from the back end. Makar was ranked our No. 1 NHL-affiliated prospect at midseason and has an honest shot to win the Hobey Baker.
2. Adam Fox, D, Harvard
NHL affiliation: Carolina Hurricanes