The NCAA players coming into the NHL seem much more ready to step right in and play. Sure some still start off in the AHL but more and more are getting NHL time right out of college.
So what has changed?
Some think it is the improved competition in the NCAA division 1 program.
Some think a shorter season allows more time for strength and conditioning.
Some think it is because 18-19 year olds are the youngest in the NCAA where they are the oldest in the CHL.